Mr. Diamond, who taught film writing from personal experience, moving to Philadelphia

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Photo Provided by Diamond family

MOVING: Mr. Diamond got boxes ready for his cross-country move last week. He and his family are relocating to his home city of Philadelphia.

By Joshua Gamson, Torah Editor

Mr. David Diamond, an accomplished screenwriter who personalized his lessons with his own experiences, is moving to Philadelphia to be able to be closer to his and his wife’s families.

It is also the place where both he and his wife are from and where their parents and other relatives live.

Covid was the worst thing that happened in my experience, but the response to it was one of the best things to happen. At the same time that it was the worst thing, it really did demonstrate the resilience of the community.”

— Mr. David Diamond

“It’s a family-driven move largely,” Mr. Diamond said in an interview with the Boiling Point. “I’ve lived in Los Angeles now for over 30 years, but this is kind of a homecoming for us.”

Mr. Diamond, whose most famous movie is The Family Man starring Nicholas Cage, came to Shalhevet in the fall of 2018 and taught a screenwriting elective offered to juniors and seniors. The next year, his class became a part of the English Department and was changed to Screenwriting and Literature.

He said his favorite time at Shalhevet was when he walked back onto campus when people were allowed to return for in-person classes. 

“Covid was the worst thing that happened in my experience, but the response to it was one of the best things to happen,” Mr. Diamond said. “At the same time that it was the worst thing, it really did demonstrate the resilience of the community — the students and the faculty and staff, and administration and parents.” 

Mr. Diamond’s son, Benjy, who would have been a junior at Shalhevet this year, will be attending Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia this fall. 

Senior Anya Mendelson, who had Mr. Diamond last year for Screenwriting and Literature, said she appreciated the way he brought his personal experiences into the classroom.  

“He told us a lot about how him and his partner used to work — so I really liked how personal his teaching style was,” Anya said. “He’s so connected to the entertainment world and business that it doesn’t feel like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about — it doesn’t feel like he’s just giving out information to us. You can tell he’s already lived through this.”

Alumnus Ari Schlacht, who had Mr. Diamond in his senior year for Screenwriting, said he liked how Mr. Diamond’s goal was to always make his students learn the material. 

“Sometimes he’d actually give out the answers ahead of time so that people would study the answers for his tests,” Ari said in an interview with the Boiling Point. “You’d come to the test and know you’ll get 100, but it’s not that he cared about that or whatever your grade was, but he would ensure that the kids knew the information.”

“He also was obviously beyond passionate about the information because he lived it,” Ari said. “He loved doing it and loved teaching it and you could tell that that emulated throughout the class and whatever he taught.” 

Anya said Mr. Diamond also encouraged debate and dialogue amongst his students.

“One of our first projects as a class, we watched Cobra Kai, the show, and we did a Netflix party,” Anya said in an interview.  “And it was funny — on the sidebar we were all like talking and debating about what scenes are what.  And instead of getting annoyed with us, that we kept talking, he was encouraging it and he really liked it and that was kind of how the class worked for the rest of the year.”

He told us a lot about how him and his partner used to work — so I really liked how personal his teaching style was”

— Anya Mendelson, 12th grade

While Mr. Diamond said he probably will not continue teaching, he does plan to continue screenwriting and writing with his partner. 

“Over the course of the pandemic, like pretty much everybody else, my partner and I had to work together; we worked on Facetime,” Mr. Diamond said. “It worked out fine — so it gave both of us confidence that we would be able to continue working together remotely, so that’s what I’m gonna be doing. 

“I don’t know if I will [teach] in a formal institutional kind of way, but I’ve always enjoyed mentoring writers who are just starting out — aspiring writers — and I expect to continue doing that.”

Mr. Diamond also expressed his gratitude to the entire Shalhevet community for “allowing [him] to play a role in the school that not every parent gets to.” 

“I’m gonna miss the people,” Mr. Diamond said. “I’m gonna miss the spirit of the place, and I’m gonna miss being a small part of a mission-driven institution whose mission resonates with me so deeply.”