Friday, December 14, 2007

Remember the Warriors

I was more clueless in the 1970s than I am today, but at least during the 1970s I had the excuse of youth. In 1970 I moved to Arlington, Virginia and started going to school. A year and a half later our school began to have some kids bussed in from another neighborhood. I progressed in the Arlington school system, except for a summer when I took some extra courses at T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, but pretty much stayed in Arlington with a number of teachers, including a chemistry teacher that didn't like refined sugar.

A number of years later, they made a somewhat fictionalized film about my summer school which I still haven't seen. And it turns out that my chemistry teacher knew about more things than the destructive properties of refined sugar. Here's a short biography of my chemistry teacher, Neal Haygood, from a list of the 2003 inductees into the Wakefield High School Hall of Fame:

Neal Haygood (Staff Member)

A much loved and respected teacher and coach at Wakefield for many years.

Set a high standard of academic excellence, serving as a role model for both students and staff.

Came to Wakefield in 1964 from Hoffman Boston to be the first Black teacher and coach.

He was instrumental in smoothing the transition toward racial equality.

A few more details on Haygood's contributions are found in the biography of Maynard Haithcock (PDF), a 2007 Hall of Fame inductee.

Maynard Haithcock was also instrumental in the integration of Wakefield and Hoffman Boston. During his years as varsity basketball coach, Maynard and Neal Haygood, the coach at Hoffman Boston, would scrimmage each other in basketball even though it was against county and state law. Maynard took several of his teams to Hoffman Boston to scrimmage and invited Neal’s team to Wakefield. This helped lay the groundwork for the full integration of Wakefield a few years later.

By the time I arrived at Wakefield in 1976, I was blissfully unaware of the hard times that were endured by those who came before me, and was therefore able to concentrate on other things.

Thank you, Mr. Haygood and Mr. Haithcock.

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