In honor of his 90th birthday on Dec. 5, Algonquin icon and mainstay Richard “Dick” Walsh reflected on his 68 years as a coach, teacher and volunteer at ARHS.
How does it feel to turn 90?
“To me, it’s just another birthday. I know I will continue to get up every day at four in the morning and come here. I have always had some sort of ‘pattern’ for my days, like I did with coaching, which I like to stick to.”
How do you plan to celebrate your 90th birthday this weekend?
“I don’t like big parties. When I retired, my wife wanted to throw me a party, but I said, ‘You can have a party, but I won’t be there.’ Anyway, my four kids are going to try to come to my house, and we are just going to have a little celebration.”
You were a long-time physical education teacher, football and baseball coach and athletic director, and you have remained dedicated to Algonquin since your official retirement. What has kept you coming back to ARHS every day?
“I just love it here. I like the kids, the teachers and the facility. I always have to be doing something, so when I retired, I sat down with the superintendent and asked what I could do to still be involved here.”
How has Algonquin changed over the years?
“I think that our school spirit and communication has changed the most. I don’t have a phone or computer, but I know those are a large part of school now in many aspects.”
What has stayed the same?
“I think the kids have stayed the same. Even though there are so many things happening in their lives, like being house-bound from COVID-19, they haven’t changed at all. I’ve actually been really pleased with the way they have been acting in the cafeteria, because as you know, I’m here every day. But, I think they handle everything going on in their lives very well.”
What are some of your best memories as a teacher and a coach?
“The year we won the championship in football. That was the only undefeated team in the history of my time as a coach here, so it was a good moment to win that championship. I have so many memories, but that one definitely stands out because a lot of those kids on the team have come back to see me.”
How did it feel to have the football field and track dedicated to you?
“Like I said, when I retired, my wife wanted to have a big party for me. I didn’t want the party so I asked, ‘Instead of the party, how about a nice, new track?’ and we got it. So, they decided to name the field and track after me. Now, my next goal would be to get a turf field because we are one of the only schools that doesn’t have one.”
What might students be surprised to learn about you?
“I went to high school in Boston, at Boston Latin School for all boys, where I took four languages. Every day, I took the [train to school] from where I lived in Dorchester, and I think I learned more on the train than I did in school. Coming from Dorchester to Northborough was a real shock, but I ended up loving it here.”
What are your hopes for Algonquin in the future?
“I hope we can keep bringing the school together. The students have gone through many changes these past few years, and it’s tough for the kids to keep up with. I would like to see some consistency because it will not only help the kids but the teachers too.”
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