Men's Health mag: Harlem teacher is an 'ultimate guy'

- In a first-grade classroom in a charter school in Harlem—a 6-foot-4 former Division I tight-end (listed at 259 pounds during his playing days as a Hoosier) born, raised, and schooled in Indiana—teaches mathematics in Air Jordans.

Fabiene Boone was one of nearly 600 men who entered themselves as candidates for Men's Health magazine's Ultimate Men's Health Guy Search. Fabiene filled out his entry on his phone on the train traveling between school and the gym and then after identifying a bunch of typos cringed and forgot about it until he learned readers voted him and his story one of just three finalists.

"I think the Ultimate Guy has to do with helping others," Fabiene said. "Like, bringing the best out of other people."

Fabiene views elementary school as a crucial phase in the development of young men and women.

"There's not a lot of men of color in the elementary realm," he said.

So when the kids at Kipp Star Harlem College Prep look up from the floor or their computers or the lunch line and see Fabiene, they recognize a familiar someone/something to which to aspire.

"Especially boys of color, see someone like them within the classroom who's there with them every day who's being silly with them but also being serious with them and teaching them and building that foundation that's going to last a lifetime," Fabiene said.

Fabiene received his first lessons in that foundation building earlier than most teachers.

"Not only did I have to learn how to be a man at 18 but I had to learn to be a father at the same time," he said.

Fabiene describes his daughter Jayda as a beautiful 12-year-old girl. She still lives with her mom in Indiana but spends all of every summer and every holiday with Fabiene.

"She's really, really molded me to be the confident person I had to be," Fabiene said. "I had no time to make those bonehead silly mistakes that normal 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds did because I had another responsibility, another life to take care of."

Fabiene also had to learn to take care of himself. Men's Health's so-called Ultimate Guy likely also requires some likely exceptional degree of physical fitness.

After college, this lifelong athlete relished sleeping in past 6 a.m. without early-morning lifting sessions to attend and soon gained 20 pounds of not-muscle.

"I was playing basketball one day with some of my old high school buddies from the basketball team and I realized it was hard to breath," Fabiene said. "And so I was like: I need to get back in shape."

Which leads us to the Fabiene—Mr. Boone to his young men and women—we see today: the physical specimen teaching addition in his Jordans, working out five times a week, admittedly still learning and improving at how to be a father, a role model, an educator.

The only teacher in New York City with a two-page spread in Men's Health redefines our definition of health, fitness, and the "ultimate guy."

"Me, I'm a big kid myself," Fabiene said.

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