What does Elder mean to you?

What does Elder mean to you?

Billy YeetWEBElder opened in 1922 and has had 21,000 graduates. Elder has at least one graduate in all of the 50 states and at least one graduate in 22 foreign countries. To say that Elder only impacts the lives of the students that go here would be an extreme understatement. Elder impacts its community and everyone it touches. Even the people who are lucky enough to meet an Elder student or graduate never forget the experience.

This is story was inspired by Bill Keehan. For those of you that do not know Bill Keehan is a great example of how Elder impacts people who didn’t even get to graduate from here. Keehan would have been the class of ’67 if he had not had to move to California just after the start of his sophomore year. Keehan loves Elder and talks always talk about it with wonder and awe. When he moved to California he graduated from the same high school as Tom Brady, but he still says it is nothing compared to Elder.

I have had a lot of good times here at Elder and I have been here for less than two years, so I wanted to ask a few former Elder students what their best memory is. I asked Mr. Otten, Mr. Ruffing, and Bill Keehan “What is your favorite memory as an Elder student?” They all had so many but I asked them to pick one. Mr. Otten told me that, “When I got a job as a sophomore and I didn’t even apply.” He also told me that it paid a dollar an hour. Mr. Ruffing’s favorite memory was, “Being a cheerleader at the football games as a senior.” Mr. Keehan told me that his favorite memory as an Elder student was “My first pep rally as a freshman.” He also added, “That’s when I knew I was an Elder Panther.”

A few graduates of Elder liked it here so much that they decided to come back permanently after graduation. I am talking about the faculty members of Elder who also graduated from here. While I was talking with Mr. Otten ’64 and Mr. Ruffing ’81 I asked them “What is your favorite as an Elder faculty member?” Mr. Otten told me, “The first time we won in basketball in the 72-73 season. It was my first my state championship (as a faculty member) and they were successful beyond my wildest dreams.” Both of Mr. Ruffing’s favorite memories have to do with pranking fellow faculty members. His first memory was a prank on Mr. Bell. Mr. Ruffing moved Mr. Bell’s car and then Mr. Ruffing had his students wrap Mr. Bell’s car with saran wrap. Mr. Ruffing wrapped the whole thing up by leading Mr. Bell on a scavenger hunt to find his car.

The other prank was on good ol’ Mr. Rueben. Mr. Rueben fell asleep in the teacher’s lounge during sixth period. While Mr. Rueben was in his deep sleep Mr. Ruffing moved the clock one hour ahead. Then Mr. Ruffing had his fellow assistant principal call down to the faculty lounge to ask Mr. Rueben why he was not in his 7th period class. Mr. Rueben awoke and frantically tried to make it to his classroom as quickly as possible only to find Mr. Ruffing waiting for him outside the door.

I don’t know if I can get it into words. It is just such a privilege to get to go to school here and to work here. Elder never stopped for me. I did it all here. Elder is a very important part of my life. It’s like the rock of Gibraltar; it stand for something that is very important. The values have never changed in 100 years and we still live by them.”

— Mr. Otten

Mr. Ruffing continued to explain to him that it was a prank. I believe that Mr. Rueben now only naps in his classroom instead of the teacher’s lounge and always locks the door before falling asleep. I enjoyed hearing about these memories because it shows that the faculty members enjoy the same thing as the students. The students love cheering on the Panthers to state championships and a good prank is always enjoyable.

The last and by far the hardest question I asked these extraordinary men was “What does Elder mean to you?” I felt I could have written a story off of each man’s individual answer. They were all great to hear and really showed how much they all care for Elder and its students.

Here is the best way I could sum them up. Mr. Otten told me, “I don’t know if I can get it into words. It is just such a privilege to get to go to school here and to work here. Elder never stopped for me. I did it all here. Elder is a very important part of my life. It’s like the rock of Gibraltar; it stand for something that is very important. The values have never changed in 100 years and we still live by them.”

As I said that is a story on its own and was said the way only a true man of Elder can say it. I asked Mr. Ruffing that same question and he told me, “It’s my life because I went to school here, left for four years, and came right back. Now that I am in my 31st year it has become a part of my family. I have never looked at my time here as a job or I have always looked at it as a vacation.”

After Mr. Ruffing had finished explaining that to me he told me he also liked to go to the beach for vacation as well. I asked Mr. Keehan what elder means to him and told me,Elder stands for one of the most informative years of my life. I got to go to school who has tradition next to none and even though Jack (his brother) and I left that school ad spent 2 and a half years at another great school I will always have memories of Elder that I will never forget. He also told me that, “Elder is like your first girlfriend, you’ll never forget her.”

Elder stands for one of the most informative years of my life. I got to go to school who has tradition next to none and even though Jack (his brother) and I left that school ad spent 2 and a half years at another great school I will always have memories of Elder that I will never forget.”

— Bill Keehan

Even though Bill Keehan only got to go to Elder for one year he has a football signed by everyone on his freshman football team. He considers that football to be one of his prized possessions. Mr. Otten told me a few more things about the privilege that Elder is. He told me how much enjoyed going to school here; working here; getting to work with the people he works with; getting to know the students, the parents, and the graduates. It was better than a dream to become principal here.

Mr. Ruffing told me he enjoys when the graduates come back and getting to reconnect with them. He also enjoys reconnecting with old alumni. “It’s a great day to be a Panther.”

I just hope everyone realizes how much of a privilege Elder is and doesn’t think of Elder as a right. I try to cherish and make the most out of every day at Elder, and I hope everyone, faculty and students, do the same.