To the Editor:
I’m writing this letter in regards to the Warwick Beacon’s front page article of April 10, titled “Honored Veterans.” I, too, want to thank the men and women of the Korean and Vietnam Wars for their sacrifice and service.
More importantly, on a more personal note, I want to thank Mr. Clyde Bennett for his service and for changing my life as a kid in the Warwick Schools.
The year was 1960, when I entered Aldrich Junior High School as a youngster of 12 years old.
My 7th and 8th grade physical education teacher was a young man named Clyde Bennett, recently home from the Korean War. I’ll always remember him as a consummate professional – kind, compassionate, strict but fair, and a no-nonsense instructor.
Since my passion as a “peach-cheek” kid was sports and competing in them, he always taught me the correct skills needed to improve and the sportsmanship needed to conduct myself.
In 1962, when I was ready to enter Pilgrim High School, I knew then and there at an early age I wanted to be a coach and Physical Education teacher just like Mr. Bennett.
I saw and experienced the positive influence he had on his students and I wanted to do the same.
Upon graduation from Pilgrim High School in 1966, I was accepted into the University of Rhode Island’s arts and science program for Biology, Health and Physical Education. All the time having my eye on the goal of becoming a P.E.D teacher. That day arrived in 1970, when I was hired as teacher in the Warwick School System.
The highlight of my 32 years of teaching, coaching and being an administrator in Warwick (1970-2002), was being reunited with my junior high mentor – idol, Dr. Bennett, who was now Superintendent of Schools.
During my 32 years, I would always tell my students at graduation other than your Mom and Dad, it would usually be a teacher or coach who would have a high impact on your lives. Thank you, Dr. Clyde Bennett, for having done just that for me! God bless!
Richard D. Walsh