By Joey McAdams
Special to the Atlantic News
Atlantic News, Friday, February 16, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
This June, Winnacunnet says good-bye to one of their longest working and most helpful teachers, Richard Ray, due to his retirement.
Ray, who has been a dedicated teacher at Winnacunnet for 34 years, teaches chorus, freshmen chorus, chamber singers, voice class, American popular music, and theatre tech. Additionally, he manages the auditorium, provides voice coaching for the spring musical and is advisor of the British Exchange program.
Ray has decided to retire at the end of this academic year because he says he wants to "have some fun."
"I’ve spent three fourths of my life working — the first fourth being school. I want to spend the rest having fun," Ray said.
Ray plays the saxophone, clarinet, guitar, bass, and any keyboard instrument. He also plays a few other instruments (but not well enough to acknowledge). Ray is also in a band called "The Spectras," which has opened up for bands such as the Doors, Led Zeppelin and even the Beach Boys. Ray has been in "The Spectras" since he was in college.
Many of his students have said that he is a great teacher and just an awesome guy and that they will miss him.
"I will miss Mr. Ray a lot, but he deserves to retire. He works really hard and he is very good at what he does," Sam McCarson (grade 9) said. "Mr. Ray is one of the only teachers I know who actually will listen to what the students want and tries his hardest to do what the students want with what he wants to."
"It’s going to be a shame to see Mr. Ray go," said Anthony Grant (grade 11). "Over the years, he has been like a second father to us. Through all of the things that are changing in our lives, he has been the one constant. We will miss him very dearly."
His fellow teachers have also said that he is a great man and that he has done so much for the school.
"Him retiring is going to be a big loss to the music program because of his many years of experience and dedication to Winnacunnet," fellow music teacher Tony Cyrus said.
When asked what Ray would like to see in his future replacement he replied, "[Someone who] enjoys working with teens, excellent musician, continually thinks about how they can improve, and has 'big ears’ which means he should be able to hear what’s going on with the students performance and know what to do to make it better."
Regarding his personal musical preferences, Ray said, "If I had to pick one kind of music that I liked better than any other, I would have to say 1960s rock. It is my favorite because I once heard the quote, 'The music you like best is the music you fell in love to,’ and that certainly holds true in my life… I also think it’s [the music] just pretty good."