TA News

2018 TA Employees of the Year Award: Rich Young, Steve Niederhauser


On Class Day, June 8, Thetford Academy honored two extraordinary people as Employees of the Year, individuals who have given their all to the students and community of Thetford Academy for many years: Steve Niederhauser and Rich Young.

Head of School William Bugg shared the following remarks about Rich and Steve during the Class Day celebration on our last day of school for 2017-18:

Rich Young, Assistant Director of Buildings & Grounds:

Our first Employee of the Year Award is Assistant Director of Buildings & Grounds Rich Young, who has worked at TA since 1999, and will be Buildings & Grounds supervisor in the Rivendell Interstate School District beginning shortly.  He’ll primarily be based at Rivendell Academy, but will also be responsible for the district’s two elementary schools.

Rich, I’ll miss your handshake, which always seems to turn into a hug, I’ll miss hearing your ever optimistic words of encouragement, and I’ll miss seeing you mowing patterns into the grass on that giant lawn mower of TA’s.

Deb Sanders-Dame says she’ll “miss your friendly smile and wave. Rich takes great pride in his work but takes time to offer a smile, tell a story or give a hug. His booming personality will be missed.”

Bridget Dugan-Sullivan adds, “I will miss Rich’s positive attitude and friendly smile whenever you see him.”

Wendy Cole adds, “Just as they say an elephant never forgets, neither does Rich forget our current or graduated students. He always greets visitors, students and adults alike; and he loves to reminisce about those who have moved on.

And as much as he loves the folks at TA, none hold a candle to his wife and two grown sons.  One does not have to ask twice to see the latest pictures of his “boys”!”

His partners in crime in TA’s Buildings and Grounds Department have a lot to say about Rich:

Dean Kellogg says: “Rich has always been a very strong individual with a heart bigger than most. He cares deeply about everyone around him. Rich has been truly committed to Thetford Academy. No matter what he does he would be in it for the long haul. As I have seen he carries his passion from the same commitment to his family to the work family he seems to have adopted. But still there is a giant amount of feelings he is holding within himself. Not many people are as well rounded as Rich. I am a better person to have known him.”

John Brown adds: “There are a lot of one word labels that could describe Rich; dedicated, optimistic, outgoing, meticulous, punctual, resourceful, ambitious, etc. I could insert another 25 descriptions here. The fact is, we are losing a someone that rarely comes along in the work place. Someone who never complains, will go out of his way to help anyone, will do any job he is asked with pride and care, is gentle and compassionate, flexible to work any shift on any given day and willing to share his wealth of trade knowledge.”

And finally, from Mike Wells: “Rich Young- A few examples of why he will be missed.

  • If we need to lift up something to check under it, we will now have to hire a crane.
  • TA will soon be awash in scrap wood and pallets.
  • No more stuck tractors/mowers/trucks to laugh about and take pictures of.
  • Post-basketball games will be much tougher.

Rich, we’ll miss you, but we are happy for your new opportunity down the road, and we hope you’ll visit us often.

Steve Niederhauser, Social Studies Teacher:

Our second Employee of the Year award this year goes to Steve Niederhauser, who began teaching at Thetford Academy in 1993, and is now retiring after 25 years of teaching social studies—including The Making of Western Civilization, Human Geography, and Barnes, Mills and Mountains.  His previous work included Dartmouth Printing Company, musical instrument retail sales, and radio (a one-hour weekly blues program).  Steve is active in the Thetford Historical Society, the Vermont Geographic Alliance, and TA’s Bicentennial history project.

Even though he is leavning us, we know we’ll see him around next year for TA’s Bicentennial Celebrations, as he and his Barns, Mills & Mountains class have been the force behind TA’s upcoming Bicentennial History Book.

Emily silver quoted a student who had Mr. Niederhauser for two course: “I like his philosophy: he emphasizes the ‘Why’ and not just the ‘What.’ And his lectures are very entertaining.”

In the wise words of Kelly Welsh, Steve Niederhauser is the kind of teacher that every student who has him will never forget. Because of Steve, an entire generation of TA students knows how to sneak into a movie theater without paying, they know all of the reasons why Walmart is a blight, and they have all had the experience of Steve’s feigned surprise at a funny slide that he slipped into his power point – that moment when he exclaims “HOW DID THIS GET IN THERE?!”  Most importantly, Steve has taught and challenged thousands of kids to be better thinkers, and better people.  He respects the uniqueness of every student, and has put countless hours into differentiating his curriculum so that every student, regardless of their interests and abilities, has the opportunity to be challenged and engaged in his classroom. And he encourages all of us to think about the impact that we have in the world beyond TA.”

His colleague Stacy Barton said, “I had the unique and fortunate opportunity to be both a student and colleague of Steve’s. I feel so fortunate to have been both. I will really miss Steve’s wit, his humor and his open door for my myriad of questions and our wonderful conversations. I will deeply miss his incredible wealth of knowledge and his ability to always recommend fantastic resources. In addition, he is one of the most passionate lifelong learners I have ever known.”

Mr. Niederhauser has passionately ensured that TA remains closely connected to the ODW-USA organization, and that year after year TA students raise more money to support non-profit work in support of children across the globe than any other ODW school. As Mrs. Barton said, “ODW’s continued success is part of Steve’s legacy.”

And his humor is second to none. Deb Sanders-Dame commented: “Steve’s random comments leave you wondering what he is thinking. He moves around campus in a stealth mode and you never know where he will pop up.”

Wendy Cole added, “Steve is a legend in his own right—he most certainly holds the record for Halloween wannabes and Founders’ Day skit characters—but more than that, he has instilled in countless numbers of students a respect for issues outside our little world in Thetford—both days current and gone by.

And let me conclude in the words of Mrs. Barton: “Indeed, Steve Niederhauser is a Thetford Academy legend; we are all better for having known him, and next year and beyond, we will miss him more than we can possibly say.” Steve, we will miss you, and we trust that you’ll come back to see us often.



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