SHS–A Glimpse Back in Time

Forde and Richter share their perspective on changes at SHS


Sarah Villa, Journalism Club Editor/ Staff Writer

Inside Scituate High School’s own walls are hidden gems of history, represented through the members of the faculty who have been teaching longer than many students have been alive. Math teacher Jamie Forde and music teacher Bill Richter have long roamed the halls of SHS, witnessing grand changes in the building itself and the environment it cultivates. So, what do these time capsule teachers have to say about glimpsing back in time to SHS many years ago? 

While Forde has been teaching at SHS for 16 years now, his four years at SHS as a high school student provide him with additional perspective regarding its vast changes. Back in the ’80s, drugs were more prominent within the building, and student restrooms could be consumed with clouds of smoke. (There was even an 18+ smoking section for cigarette smokers.) According to Forde, issues of hazing, fighting, and bullying were incredibly common. Thankfully, these issues appear to be less prevalent at SHS these days.

Forde said he’s observed student behavior change over the past 16 years, and he took note of the added distraction of cell phones on students. The once mainstream distraction of passing notes has been replaced with frequent texting. The obsession with online interaction has seemingly shifted priorities away from focusing on schoolwork. On the other hand, according to Forde, students have shown drastic improvement in their level of social and global awareness.

While Forde never recalls thanking his teachers at the end of every class when he was a student, he currently receives a swarm of students thanking him for his lessons. He plans to continue teaching at SHS, finding his career an excellent way to give back to society and develop connections with students: “I have respect for my students, and they have respect for me, and I genuinely enjoy their company,” he commented. Simply put, Forde is a treasured teacher at SHS, and many students aspire to take his classes. 

Another gem of the faculty, music teacher Bill Richter, has witnessed many changes in SHS–and created memorable changes of his own. Currently enjoying his 39th year teaching music, Richter is the longest-standing faculty member here at SHS. Saying he enjoys fostering a passionate, accepting, and welcoming community, Richter started his career teaching in a drab classroom with an old piano. Currently, his students enjoy the benefits of learning in the new Performing Arts Center, which is fully equipped with classrooms, an impressive performance space, and a Steinway concert grand piano.

Despite the passing decades, Richter still recognizes a slight divide between students involved in the arts and those involved in sports at SHS. However, when he first started teaching, the divide was much harsher. Along with the crumbling building, poor student behavior at that time was described as “rampant.” Regular food fights, physical fights, and open drug deals happened in the halls at SHS. Needless to say, Richter also applauded the improvement in student behavior over the years. 

Richter said he would like to continue teaching and directing nine different choirs. His passion is fueled by his “genuine love for music,” adding, “it’s truly the most beautiful thing on this planet.” Richter could have retired seven years ago, but chose to teach every year since then, eager to continue in a musical community built by students who embrace a culture of acceptance, love, positivity–and absolute excellence in the areas of music.