Meticulous, thorough, and fastidious in the ways of teaching, coaching, and life—Bill Curl has had an exceptional influence on his young charges at the Middle School. Since being hired twenty years ago, he has had the task of preparing our Middle Schoolers for the rigors of writing and reading at the Upper School. His deliberate, methodical approach preparing our students for high school English has been transformational for many.
At the Senior Luncheon, Mr. Brian Barbour (Social Studies Department Chair and Senior Advisor) took a moment to recognize Bill:
Mr. Curl the English poet John Milton wrote, ‘I call therefore for a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all the offices both private and public.’
For the past twenty years Mr. Curl has served this Academy in many capacities—as a teacher, mentor, and coach. The students whom you have taught have mastered the English language and prose. And since my first day on the campus in 2007 you have been a true colleague, mentor, and dear friend.
Bill, I think I speak for every student in this room that had your class or had you as a coach that our lives have been made richer and have been made more precious by having you in them.”
At the end of these comments Bill was given a standing ovation by everyone at the luncheon. Deservedly so.
The teachers at R-MA have as their mission to positively impact every student they work with. Whether in the classroom or on the basketball court, in the halls or after school, on the golf course or while tutoring, Mr. Curl has nurtured, guided, shaped, and encouraged many a struggling student who doubted himself. And he has demanded of the stronger students an excellence they did not know they possessed.
Teaching is only one aspect of the professional educator at R-MA. Coaching and mentoring are what separates the great teachers at R-MA from their public school brethren: shaping character and developing self-reliance are an essential part of R-MA’s mission.
Bill is an exceptional coach and, therefore, an exceptional teacher. To infuse pride and confidence in a young person no matter the ability level at which he begins is the sine qua non of great coaching, great teaching, and great mentoring. In developing a team culture of accountability and responsibility for each performance requires discipline, focus, rapport, and high expectations.
I will relate an anecdote about one student. (Many of Bill’s students will recognize themselves in this account though the details may be different; many of you alumni who had other teachers who made such an impact on you.)
A young man came to the Middle School having been lost at his previous school; discouraged academically, uninterested in improving himself in any endeavor through lack of confidence, downtrodden in virtually every respect until he had Mr. Curl as his teacher and coach. Mr. Curl earned his trust. The young student grew more confident in the classroom while having success on the basketball court and golf course. It wasn’t long before he became a star in both sports, but more importantly the success in sports transferred itself to a renewed application to learn through effort. He saw effort produced success on the field of play—and in the classroom. His self-confidence was built on many small but important successes in and out of the classroom.
This young man has gone on to earn his bachelor’s degree and then a law degree. Much of the credit, in my opinion, is due to Bill Curl and the environment and culture he contributed to building here at R-MA. There are many such stories I can relate that have their beginning with Mr. Curl’s influence and guiding hand.
His colleagues at the Middle School will miss him, but they have had a model to emulate— a model to use to shape and build and encourage their students now and long into the future.
Thank you for your service to your Alma Mater (Class of ’66) and have a wonderful retirement.