Mumford Family_ Media Center_ Jill Blue_Viera_Voice

Viera High School honored a popular English teacher when it renamed its Media Center to the Dr. David J. Mumford Media Center.

Viera High School English teacher David Mumford impacted more young lives than he ever really knew.

The legacy he created over 14 years at the school, and over the course of a 40-year teaching career, will forever be carried on by his students, by his three children … and by the school’s media center, which now bears his name.

Viera held a ceremony last month to announce the dedication of the Dr. David J. Mumford Media Center in honor of the teacher, who died May 24, 2021 after a battle with cancer.

“I thought it was really fantastic,” Mumford’s 24-year-old daughter, Jacquie said. “My dad, his whole thing was making a difference with his students. That was his passion. That’s what he loved. He loved reading. He loved writing. He loved teaching. I think it’s a wonderful way to commemorate him.”

Viera High principal Sarah Robinson, who helped push for the center to be renamed after Mumford, said the impression the teacher made on his students and the school’s staff was clear.

“Dr. Mumford challenged students and was able to get them to connect with literature and books in a way that inspired them,” Robinson wrote in an email. “Being a published author, he often times cultivated a love for reading within his students.

“At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, many staff were fearful about returning to work in a global pandemic. Dr. Mumford, while undergoing cancer treatments, returned to work and worked tirelessly. Daily, we had to push him in a wheelchair to his classroom so that he could get there each morning, but that never deterred his positive outlook or his ability to communicate with his students.

“His tireless dedication to his students, even in his final months of life continue to astound me and showcase the true character of the man that he is.”

The last time Robinson spoke with Mumford in person, he mentioned the possibility of naming the media center after him “because he always wanted to know that he had an impact somewhere.”

Robinson said she shared the request with the staff, students, parents and the community and all of the responses were positive.

Mumford’s son, Daniel, wrote a note to the Brevard School Board in December to tell them what kind of person his father was.

“I consider myself the luckiest kid on earth to grow up with somebody that I could look up to and be inspired by every day,” Daniel Mumford wrote. “As much as I looked up to my dad, I like to think he looked up to us just as much.

“My dad lived each day to the fullest and there was never a time when I didn’t catch him with a smile on. His energy was contagious amongst all of us, and his smile would light up the room wherever he’d go.”

Marianne Mumford Poma said the best story her father ever wrote was actually the one he lived and that he became “a hero of his own story clothed in a cape of bravery” through his fight with cancer.

He was a hero to his children and his wife, and he treated every student “like his own, with the same confidence in them for their future that he had for his own three kids. He would light up when a student would tell him about something they accomplished or when they came to him for help or guidance. 

“… His students could tell he genuinely cared. I still have old high-school peers telling me how much they loved my dad and this is almost 15 years later. He helped students not only find their way through reading Shakespeare, but he helped them find their courage, their confidence and their smiles.”

After the Brevard School Board approved the name change, the Mumford family received a photo of the media center with David Mumford’s name on it. His wife, Rosana, was moved to tears.

“I guess every teacher, every professor, every educator has a doubt that what they’re doing really matters because you don’t know the result,” Rosana Mumford said. “You plant a tree and you move out of the country and you don’t know if that tree took over.

“That’s how Dave felt. He taught college for years. He taught overseas, on four different continents. He never knew the impact he was causing on students’ lives. Obviously, he was very impactful … his name is up on that building now.

“I wish he could be here to see that.”