Duffett leaves legacy

By Alexander Lee
Staff Writer

After thirty-five venerable years of teaching at Westford Academy, Al Duffett is planning to retire at the end of this year.

Duffett has taught US history, World History, Law and Current Affairs, Civics, and Reading at one time or another throughout the span of his career, and he says that he has sincerely loved teaching every subject and time period because of his students.

Duffett’s students think highly of him as well. One student summed up Duffett’s teaching style and personality in one word, “Enthusiastic.” Enthusiasm and passion are the forces that drive Duffett as a person. His zeal for teaching and history has driven him to come to school every day with optimism and a smile.

In fact, Duffett has never been late to school a day in his entire teaching career, a feat deemed unimaginable by many of the students at WA.

Heather Carney, another faculty member in the history department, described Duffett as “one of the few teachers who is able to handle numerous activities while teaching, and at the same time he makes it look easy.”

Carney continued on to say that “Al will be sorely missed and we, the History Department, are skeptical that someone like him can ever be replaced”.

Over the years, Duffett has been the definition of a model teacher. This extemporary behavior was recognized in 1985, when he received the special recognition award “Educator of the Year” after being nominated by a student. As a result, Duffett had a chance to meet Governor Michael Dukakis.

However, Duffett’s contributions are not limited to the classroom; he has contributed a significant amount to Westford Academy itself, its clubs, and its athletics programs. Duffett has acted as a student council advisor for over twenty-five years, a Coordinator of Student Activities, an advisor for Hearts to Hands, an officer for the Chess Club, and the Director of the Summer School. He describes this hefty list as a “real potpourri.”

Duffett especially is fond of sports. Not only was he the Athletic Director for fifteen years, but he has also coached track, football, baseball, and basketball. His most notable moments in athletics are coaching at the Boston Garden and at the State Semi-Finals in baseball, winning three Super Bowls for Coach John Morris as the Athletic Director, watching the cross country championships at Franklin Park, the Wrestling Selectional Championship at WA, and winning the Field Hockey Central Massachusetts Championships in a shootout.

Furthermore, Duffet remembers one year when he awarded “3 Sport Night” sweatshirts to 106 athletes out of a multitude of 400.

When asked about his most memorable moment at WA, Duffett says that he has countless memories. Yet, the first one that came to his mind was when he got the call saying that he was hired.

Duffett also clearly remembers “getting hugs from just about every graduating senior from the Class of 2006 after they received their diploma.” Yet most of all, Duffett remembers his very close friends, who he teaches with every day, and watching the students grow in the classroom as students and as people.

Apart from teaching and Westford Academy, Duffett also has numerous passions. They include family, friends, reading, traveling, and “rooting for home-town teams”.

After retirement, Duffett plans to work and possibly even teach. As always, he will continue to coach and officiate. He feels sad about the end of the school year but excited for all the new opportunities that come with it.

Many students and faculty members say they feel melancholy about Duffett’s retirement, yet at the same time they wish him the best and are happy for all the new opportunities that have opened up for him.

Duffett described the last days of this school year as bittersweet given that this will be the final stretch of his teaching career at Westford Academy.