WATCH: Who Was Mr. Monteith?

Code Blue News


Vinh Nguyen

A display case containing items related to Mr. Monteith and the annual Tip-Off Classic in the STEAM commons.

Bryanna Graziano and Vinh Nguyen

If you have been a student at Holbrook Middle-High School for long enough, you have probably heard of Mr. Monteith. Every year, the Mr. Richard Monteith Tip-Off Classic is held. It is a schoolwide fundraiser for the Richard Monteith Scholarship Fund. All students wear purple shirts to school on that day. This year, the Tip-Off Classic saw the first home game for both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. But if you weren’t around when he was still alive, you may not know exactly who Mr. Monteith was.

Mr. Richard “Dick” Monteith was a science teacher at the Holbrook Junior-Senior High School loved by students and teachers alike for his kindness and generosity. His passing on February 6, 2017 after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer sent shock waves throughout the school. The following is an excerpt from his obituary, published in the Enterprise three days after his death. “Dick was born and raised in Lynn and was a 1979 graduate of Lynn Classical High School. Dick earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Bridgewater State University. He married Andrea, the love of his life, on Sep. 24, 1989. They raised their three children in Bridgewater, where Dick was an active member of the community, serving as a soccer and baseball coach for many years. He was also the chairman of the Bridgewater Conservation Commission for over five years. Dick loved traveling with his family, and their adventures brought them around the world. He was a skillful jack-of-all-trades and an ingenious engineer.”

Math and chemistry teacher Mr. Richard Gifford spent his time as a beginner at Holbrook under Mr. Monteith’s wing. Gifford reflects, “What was Mr. Monteith to me? Mr. Monteith, when… I came here, after I had retired from Avon to teach physics, and Mr. Monteith was actually my department head. Even though I was new here, he would always see me in the hall, so he’d come down and see me, and as I traveled in three or four different rooms… he would come to see me, make sure everything was okay, and he was always looking out for me because I was the new guy on the block in Holbrook.”

The STEAM commons was officially renamed to the Richard J. Monteith STEAM Commons between games at the Tip-Off this year. This was the first time since the opening of the new school building that something in the school had been named after a person; the last place to have been named after someone was the John P. Walsh Museum in the old school. This goes to show how revered Mr. Monteith is in the HMHS. Richard Monteith is a name that will continue to be remembered throughout the Holbrook and Bridgewater communities for many generations to come.

HMHS senior Ayoub Ziad was introduced to robotics by Mr. Monteith. He recalls, “Mr. Mon was a chemistry teacher here at Holbrook [Junior-Senior] High School, but he was also a prominent member around the community and especially after school here at Holbrook [Junior-Senior] High School. He was involved in a bunch of extracurricular activities. He was the founder of the robotics program, coach [of the] JV soccer and softball, and was always at the school and always willing to help other people. He was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. He convinced me to join robotics, and I’m forever grateful for that, because it’s probably my favorite extracurricular at Holbrook and now I know what I want to pursue after high school because of that.”

Mr. Gifford was particularly moved by Mr. Monteith’s unwavering optimism even after the diagnosis. Gifford recounts, “Even when [Mr. Monteith] got diagnosed, he was very upbeat and he was [determined to] beat the cancer. He always had a smile on his face and always was looking out for everybody. He was just an unbelievable person.”

Mr. Monteith may no longer be with us, but he will live on in the hearts of Holbrook residents for generations to come.