~ Submitted by Craig Wiley
As a graduate of BHS (Class of ’95) that now lives 3000 miles away, I depend on The Bedford Citizen for my “hometown” news. I wanted to thank Mr. Rosenberg for his heartfelt coverage of Armand Sabourin’s recent passing. I very much enjoyed reading the words of my classmates and those that had come before and after me. It was clear that Coach Sabourin had a profound impact on his athletes.
During my time at BHS, the closest I ever came to the football field was one season in the marching band, one season as the mascot, and one season in the booth (with Mr. Rosenberg) filming the games. Having said that, many of us who never made it onto the field, were still significantly impacted not by Coach Sabourin but by Mr. Sabourin.
Mr. Sabourin was my junior year trigonometry teacher. In a math department that was filled with superstar teachers, Mr. Sabourin was quiet, humble, caring, and tough. He cared deeply for his students and worked hard to ensure they firmly grasped the subject. His tests were famously hard, likely the most difficult of any teacher in the school at the time. But rarely in my time at BHS was I in a class where the focus of the students was as collectively intense as it was in Mr. Sabourin’s classroom.
I remember going to him after school for extra help and being mind blown that the football coach would pull a chair up to my desk. He then began helping me correct each problem on the test (that I had bombed) until I began doing them myself. As the fundamentals of trig became more clear to me, I looked at him with a HUGE smile on my face only to have an even larger smile reflected back at me.
I can never remember Mr. Sabourin raising his voice in class or demeaning a student that missed an answer. He treated everyone in the room with the deepest respect and they gave it right back to him. I had two close friends in class, one was “just not a math person,” and the other struggled with attention challenges. But I watched both of them work and excel for Mr. Sabourin unlike they did for almost any other teacher.
It is always amusing and disappointing when I see portrayals on TV or in the movies of the high school football coach teaching math or science while wearing gym shorts. Inevitably these characters are portrayed as a bit dull as they slam their fists on the board and favor the football players and cheerleaders. I am always sad for the writers of these shows, sad that they never had a Mr. Sabourin in their lives.
Each year at BHS, dozens of athletes had the opportunity to learn from and work for this remarkable coach. But each year, scores more had the opportunity to grow and develop their math skills under his tutelage. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to spend a year in his classroom. With his recent passing, Bedford lost a legendary coach and a legendary teacher. He would be my first nominee for the BHS Math Teacher Hall of Fame.
Thank you ‘Mr.’ Sabourin.