Manhattan Day School
74th Annual Scholarship Dinner
April 2nd, 2017


Who is that sharply dressed, widely-smiling fellow, seen gliding his way up and down the MDS stairwells, moving deftly among classrooms and offices and shuttling between the auditorium and basement? He is Richard Acosta, MDS’s Director of Technology — and this year’s recipient of the MDS Faculty Award.

One of our school’s most amiable, cheerful and competent figures, Richard is the person who keeps our school technologically connected, while fostering lively personal connections throughout the building. He is an extraordinarily deserving honoree and with his diligence, professionalism, respect and enduring kindness, he has become an admired member of the MDS family. 

Richard’s professional path led him to MDS 9 years ago, and since then he has had a hand in every major MDS technological program and function. Among many important MDS advancements, he established and regularly maintains the fully secure and functional Parent Locker and Blackboard platforms, and increased the school’s WiFi capability. He is also deeply committed to maintaining efficient interchange between the parent body and the administration, and adeptly ensures that the school’s various lines of communication are easily operated and running effortlessly. 

Richard knows the inner-workings of the entire school and is always at the ready — often on weekends and even during school vacations — to provide his expertise. Whether he is helping make the 2nd Grade Chumash play a success, enabling the live-stream of the student government speeches or providing crystal clear audio-visuals for the 8th grade graduation ceremony, Richard’s talents have proven indispensable. His handiwork can also be seen at the school’s extracurricular events, as he is an expert participant in many occasions, including Ladies Night Out, the Boys’ Melave Malka and the Parents Council Auction. 

Born and raised in New York, Richard spent all of his summers, as well as his 5th through 7th grade years, in Puerto Rico with his beloved grandmother, of blessed memory. Richard was instilled early on with a deep sense of familial pride — his heroes are his mother, aunt and grandmother — so it is no surprise that his greatest source of elation is his family. Richard has been married to his beautiful wife, Wanda, for over 25 years and they have a 20-year-old son, Justin Ryan Acosta, who is currently a Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy major at Morrisville State College. Richard and his family reside in Rockland County. 

Justin’s educational path was undoubtedly shaped by his father, who is extremely talented in a variety of sports. Richard is a 1976 Junior Olympics boxing Gold Medalist, who also tried out for the New York Mets in 1984. A skilled softball player with 12 years on his local Beth Israel Team, and a devotee of a variety of other activities including fishing, hiking and biking, Richard is passionate about maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle and finds great joy in sharing the many advantages of sports with young people. Justin was fortunate to call his father “Coach” as a young T-ball player and through some of his high school years and Richard currently volunteers for the West Nyack and Latin Souls Little League Teams. MDS has also benefited from Richard’s sports acumen, as he served as Coach of the MDS Boys Varsity and Junior Varsity teams from 2011 through 2013.

Richard and Wanda’s dedication to helping others extends well beyond their immediate personal and professional lives. They truly exemplify one of the most deeply held Jewish values — that of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. They are both active volunteers at the Bricktown Gospel Fellowship, Soup Angels of Nyack and City Harvest of Long Island City, and regularly participate in meal preparation and coat drives. The Acostas are an inspirational duo and they serve many communities in powerful ways, while remaining modest and humble. 

Richard Acosta has made a profound difference at MDS and in the larger New York community; one needs only step into his school office to experience first-hand the admiration and gratitude that he has engendered. His space is inundated with tokens of appreciation from students, parents, little leaguers and others whose lives he has touched. Richard is truly a cherished member of the MDS family and it is a great honor to present him with this year’s Faculty Award.