Harry Dame: Veteran Educator and Talented Coach

Harry A. Dame, 1920-1921

Harry A. Dame, 1920-1921

In American history, there are many notable examples of talented and dedicated educators who make their mark on the profession. This is certainly the case of Harry Dame, a public high school teacher who made his biggest mark as an athletic coach.

Harry Dame was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. As a youngster, he attended Lynn Classical High School, graduating in 1898. After his graduation, he enrolled in Springfield Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he played quarterback for the football team. Harry completed his college studies in 1900, and then he enrolled in courses at both Tufts College in Medford, Massachusetts, and Boston University.

After earning his college degree, Harry accepted his first teaching position as an athletic director at Waltham High School, in Waltham, Massachusets. Four years later Harry transferred to  the Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, where he coached football and baseball. Some time later, he was hired to teach mathematics at nearby Everett High School. In 1909, Harry left Everett to return Waltham High School. In addition to serving as the athletic director, the veteran educator coached football and basketball.

Under Harry’s expert coaching, Waltham High’s football team finished the season undefeated in 1915. Imagine his amazement when the team was pitted against Harry’s former school, Everett High School, for the right to play Central High School in Detroit for the National Scholastic Football Championship. Unfortunately, Everett defeated Waltham 6–0 before a crowd of 12,000 spectators, an record for attendance at a high school football game in Massachusetts at the time.

Later that same year, Harry accepted a position as physical education teacher at Lynn English High School in Lynn, Massachusetts. There Harry led his football team in play against an All-Stars team composed of college and former high school players. To Harry’s dismay, the Waltham team won the game with a score of 24–6.

In the summer of 1917, when World War I was in full swing, Harry took a group of students from Lynn English to work on Sorosis Military Farm in Marblehead, Massachusetts, as part of an on-the-job program developed by an executive from the A. E. Little Co., who was also the owner of the farm. The program combined farm work with military training in an effort to increase the boys’ interest in farm work, provide them with military instruction, and assist in war production. Harry resigned from Lynn English on September 25, 1917.

From 1919 to 1922, Harry was employed as the athletic director and a coach at Western Reserve University. In addition, the veteran educator coached baseball from 1919 to 1920, basketball from 1919 to 1922, football from 1919 to 1921, and track from 1919 to 1920. 

Harry later worked at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, until his retirement in 1928.

This chalkboard champion passed away in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 7, 1933.

Spanish Teacher Jose Ferrer Canales: A Puerto Rican Chalkboard Champion

canales 2The teaching profession abounds with talented and dedicated educators who have devoted their entire lives to their practice. Such is certainly the case with Jose Ferrer Canales, a high school Spanish teacher from Puerto Rico who was also an accomplished journalist, essayist, and political activist.

Jose was born in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 18, 1913, into an impoverished, working-class family. As a youngster, he attended Pedro G. Boyco Elementary School, and as a teenager, he graduated from Central Superior High School. Because of his family’s poverty, Jose worked to help support his family, even though he was still in school.

After his high school graduation, Jose enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico, completing the requirements for his bachelor’s degree in 1937. In 1944, he earned his MA in Arts. Jose accepted his first teaching position at a high school in Humacao, where he taught Spanish from 1937 to 1943. Once he earned his master’s degree, Jose was awarded a grant to continue his studies in Spanish and Latin American literature at Columbia University in New York City. While in New York, Jose taught Spanish at Hunter College.

In 1946, the veteran educator returned to his home island where he accepted a position in the Department of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico. There he became actively involved in the island’s pro-independence movement. In 1949, when he was fired from the university because of his political activities, he relocated to the United States, where he taught at universities in Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, DC. After some years, Jose moved to Mexico, where he attended the National Autonomous University of Mexico, earning his PhD in Letters in 1952. In 1963, Jose was able to once again return to his home island and his position at the University of Puerto Rico. He pursued contributions to the field of education and the publication of numerous essays and journal articles until his retirement in 1983.

Because of his lengthy and distinguished career, Jose earned several prestigious honors. He was given the Journalist Prize from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1990. He was honored with the Prize of Honor from the Puerto Rican Athenaeum in 1994. He was also named the Humanist of the Year by the Puerto Rican Humanities Foundation in 1997.

This chalkboard champion passed away of natural causes on July 20, 2005, in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. He was 91 years old. He is interred at Villa Palmaeras Cemetery in Puerto Rico.

Leonard Covello Offers Great Insights Into Pluralism in Education

9781592135219_p0_v1_s260x420[1]Here’s a great book for anyone who is interested in progressive education or pluralism in education: Leonard Covello and the making of Benjamin Franklin High School: Education as if Citizenship Mattered. The authors are Michael C. Johanek and John L. Puckett.

Leonard Covello came to the United States in 1896 as a nine-year-old Italian immigrant. Despite immense cultural and economic pressures at home, Leonard wanted to get an education. As an adult, he analyzed the cultural and economic pressures he faced as a child and teen, which were common in Italian immigrant households at that time. He realized that Italian parents viewed the school as a wedge between their children and the family. He recognized the pressure even the youngest Italian children faced to go out and get a job rather than succeed in school. His answer? Involve the parents in the school, and involve the students in the community. The result was New York’s Benjamin Franklin High School, a truly innovative marriage of school and home. Lots of lessons in this story are relevant even in today’s times, especially for school personnel who are clamoring for more involvement from parents in the school system.

You can find this eye-opening book on amazon.com at the Leonard Covello link. You can also read the abbreviated version of Leonard Covello’s life story in my first book Chalkboard Champions: Twelve Remarkable Teachers Who Educated America’s Disenfranchised Students.