Impact of SB Over The Years
by Kathleen Lynch
I didn’t think twenty years into my own teaching career that I would still be doing writing assignments for Mrs. Maher, but here I am completing a writing prompt for that ageless wonder. Since she is also my neighbor, and sometime walking partner, I thought it best to write something rather than open myself up to more taunting. I already catch grief when I’m wearing Husky Blue instead of Crusader Green. Fortunately, Jeff Michael (’89) in his Wildcat Red is subject to most of the heat.
“In a recent conversation with one of my students we were discussing different career options and she asked me why I became a teacher. It was not a career I had spent a lot of time thinking about when I was younger. In some ways I fell into it one summer working the Run & Gun Basketball Camp with Jaime Green (’84) and some other St. Bernard’s alumni. I was having fun and realized working with kids through athletics would offer an opportunity to bring two things I enjoyed together. I soon found myself coaching teams at SBA and working toward my teaching credential with Coach Beaudette as my advisor. The mentors I had throughout my years as a student at SBA influenced me in ways I had not yet fully realized. As I began telling my student about the teachers and coaches who impacted my life it became clear that their example led me to this career path.
Freshman year I entered a classroom where we were greeted with “hello earthlings” by Coach Robbie. His love for his job and his students was evident. In recent years I had the privilege of serving on a committee headed by Coach Robbie. Thirty years later I would still be taking notes from Coach as he masterfully led our meetings with humor and efficiency.
That same year Coach Abordo was causing Jay Brauning to blush as he tried to get him to explain what it meant to “woo” a lady as part of our Romeo and Juliet lesson. At the time I was entertained by watching Jay, a talented and charismatic classmate, squirm a little. What I realize now is that Coach Abordo was creating an engaging classroom environment. We were all watching intently. It was a treat to be able to introduce the young ladies I was coaching at Fortuna to Coach Abordo when we traveled to Kelseyville where it was apparent that he continues to impact those around him.
Today I was picking up some thank you cards for guest speakers who are coming in to talk with my current students. It was in Mrs. Vogt’s senior English class that I was introduced to the etiquette of the thank you letter, how to compose cover letters and resumes, and of course that you do NOT chew gum when presenting in class. I’m still working on that last one.
As I plan my lessons each school year I find that I have a habit of detailing out every activity. While I did not always love the precision that Mrs. (now Dr.) Shannon required in our lab books I am grateful to have been given the tools to be detail oriented. Her work as our ASB advisor undoubtedly led me to my role advising multiple classes and clubs over the years. Similarly Mr. Lennon’s history lessons went far beyond a list of dates and events. He opened my eyes to a world of injustices being met by the works of organizations like Amnesty International, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme. He taught me to question authority. Though I’ll be honest I do cringe a bit when my own students want to question my own authority. I mean lets not get carried away.
There are countless others who supported and educated me during my years at St. Bernard’s whether it be during my time as a student, teacher or coach. CAB members like Jim Long, Mike Landing, Greg Davy, Harold and Linda Shamp, and Joe Pinochi, to name just a few, worked diligently to maintain athletic facilities, work snack bars, run the scoreboard and help with other fundraising opportunities. Dave Ponte graciously offered his service as a physical therapist to help rehabilitate our athletes during my tenure as Athletic Director and Mike Paddack gave great care to me and my teammates during our glory days. As I began my teaching career Jeff Jacobs placed his faith in me and offered me my first job transforming our relationship from point guard and coach to teacher and principal.
As I continue to grow as an educator I am rooted in a foundation formed by the many incredible people by whom I was taught and coached, worked with, and had the opportunity to teach and coach at St. Bernard’s. Thank you to everyone whose time, energy and expertise was an integral part of education.”