Retiring faculty and staff leave behind long-lasting legacies
As the end of the year approaches, students at WHS prepare to say goodbye to some of their favorite teachers. After decades of teaching, faculty members including math teacher Larry Davidson, English teacher and theatre director John Minigan, technology integration specialist Mary O’Brien, janitor Tony Legaski, nurse supervisor Patricia Wright and administrative assistant in the nurse’s office Laureen Byrne are closing their chapters at WHS.
Whether it is creating a new theatre arts class, or helping the golf team reach the State Championships, these faculty and staff members have impacted countless students. Heading into retirement, Minigan reflects on his 31 years spent at WHS as an English teacher and the theatre director.
“It’s been a great experience. I’ve grown tremendously, as a teacher, as a person, and as an artist,” Minigan said.
Similarly, Davidson admitted that although he will not miss the early hours required by his job, he will miss his fellow faculty members and students.
“[I will miss] the people, which means not just my students, but also my colleagues. There’s an amazing faculty here at Weston, and that has made all the difference for me,” Davidson said.
In addition, O’Brien talked about the relationships that she has valued during her time working at WHS.
“I’ve been coaching for fifteen years so, over the years [along with] teaching in the schools, I’ve gotten to know the students and the faculty, I have also gotten to know some of the parents,” O’Brien explained.
Byrne reflected on her favorite memories from her years spent working at WHS.
“The fondest memories are those of students – whether it’s an achievement or one of the many kindnesses shown to others. I have many wonderful notes from students that I’ve kept through the years and I treasure them,” Byrne said.
Despite their fond memories of WHS, these retiring teachers have exciting plans regarding how they will spend their time in retirement. Although Byrne will miss the students and faculty of WHS, she is excited to have more free time to spend with family and travel.
“My husband retired last year and we’re looking forward to traveling. We have relatives on the West Coast and in Ireland. It will be great to have the time to visit,” Byrne said.
After leaving WHS, Minigan plans to continue to work in theater-related activities, including play-writing and even helping create a documentary.
“I write plays when I’m not teaching; I’m looking forward to having more time to do that. I’ve got a bunch of potential opportunities in the next couple of years, [including] directing [and] leading workshops for people on how to do devised theater,” Minigan said.
Wright plans to join her husband in retirement and leave Weston to travel with him.
“My husband retired earlier this year and we plan to move to the Cape over the summer. We are looking forward to traveling and spending time with family and friends. It will be nice to not have a schedule!” Wright said.
Minigan brought many changes to the theatre program in his years, including the addition of several new theatre classes. Through his time spent teaching at WHS, Minigan has learned more about working with both students and faculty.
“The most important thing that I’ve found as my mission here is to have real and authentic collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity,” Minigan explained.
While these teachers will be leaving WHS, the impact they made on thousands of students will always be remembered. O’Brien’s thoughts on departing teachers reflect the hopes of many retirees.
“I think that we all hope that when we leave people will remember us as teachers who were dedicated to their profession who cared about kids and cared about what’s doing best for them.”