It was an occasion filled with high spirits, expressions of sincere gratitude and fond farewells at Minuteman High School as students, teachers and administrators showed their appreciation to the district’s longtime superintendent, Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, and Minuteman freelance writer Judy Bass captures the mood of the May 12 event.
He plans to retire in June after 15 achievement-filled years.
Under summery blue skies with a balmy feel in the air, hundreds of students grouped by their career technical programs headed for the school’s football field. Many were carrying signs bearing messages thanking Dr. Bouquillon for his dedication and leadership.
As they wound their way around the perimeter of the new athletic field, bagpiper Seth Fagans of Acton stood in the center playing, adding a lilting musical nod to Dr. Bouquillon’s Irish heritage.
The next phase of the event took place inside the building in Minuteman’s theater. Principal George Clement spoke first, praising Dr. Bouquillon for doing so much to enhance students’ education and for preparing them for productive careers.
“His mission [was] to help kids discover what they love to do and what they do well, and to help kids gain an individual economic opportunity,” Clement said. “The question: Did he get the job done? The answer: Hell yes!”
He then read a checklist of Dr. Bouquillon’s most significant personal and professional accomplishments – “hire and foster top talent, get the school budget in order, rewrite the district charter, watch the school win multiple awards for excellence, be a proud husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and son, as well as a dynamic, generous, and strong servant-leader.”
New school, blue ribbon
Perhaps Dr. Bouquillon’s biggest success involved his steadfast advocacy for a new, badly needed, state-of-the-art Minuteman school facility. It opened its doors in the fall of 2019.
Another notable triumph of his tenure came a year earlier, when Minuteman earned the prestigious designation of National Blue Ribbon School in 2018, an honor conferred by the U.S. Department of Education. That same year, Dr. Bouquillon was named a semi-finalist for National Superintendent of the Year by the National Association of School Superintendents.
In his remarks, Dr. Bouquillon struck a thoughtful tone. He said he has been conferring often with his successor, Dr. Kathleen Dawson, as she transitions into the role of Minuteman’s superintendent. She will begin on July 1.
The school is “in very good hands,” Dr. Bouquillon said.
He took time to thank his family, including his wife, Diana, recognizing that people sometimes have to make tough choices between their family and the rigorous, unavoidable demands of a job such as a school superintendent.
Continuing on the theme of making choices, Dr. Bouquillon said that the staff’s mission is to help kids “make good choices” for their career pathway and future.
“Helping kids find their passion – that’s what we do, and we do it well.”
Rounding out the tribute were two presentations to Dr. Bouquillon. The first was from Assistant Superintendent Amy Perreault, who gave him a pin to wear on his kilt. The other was from students in carpentry, who made Adirondack chairs for him.
A photo gallery: All by Reba Saldanha
Minuteman is an award-winning regional career and technical high school and continuing education institution that integrates robust academic and technical learning. As an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), Minuteman challenges all students to aspire to their full potential, accelerate their learning, and achieve success in the 21st-century global community. Located in Lexington in a new state-of-the-art facility, Minuteman’s member towns are Acton, Arlington Bolton, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Needham, and Stow.
This news features, which includes opinion, was published Monday, 23, 2022.