This is Bob Hutchings. “Mr. Hutch” is a popular history teacher and speech coach on the Bolles Middle School Bartram Campus who loves listening to music – including Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle and Stevie Nicks. The scene captured in this photo is typical of Hutchings’ classroom vibe. “I enjoy that there’s a group of students who like to just hang out in my room and chat during recess times, or they may serve as an audience for my Speech Team kids who are rehearsing with me.” This lifelong educator (he was founding faculty of a middle school in Minneapolis in the late-1980s) and penny whistle/fife-player is a trove of interesting personal details. Here are a few highlights in his words:
· I was part of a speech-writing team for a candidate for a major political campaign in the early 2000s.
· I have coached 17 National Speech Champions and 2 Nation Debate Champions for both middle and high school teams.
· Back in my Minnesota days, I took in four foster children and raised a couple of them for several years, and they are still in touch with me to this day.
· When in a bookstore, I usually gravitate toward the cookbook section (I worked at writing a cookbook many years ago but never got it published).
· I still play the Irish whistle/penny whistle and the fife, although I miss being playing with a large group of people in my former fife and drum corps in New England.
· I like to just drive around the Jacksonville area on a day off and explore new places and restaurants.
Once described by a student as “Gordon Ramsey of Note-Taking,” Mr. Hutch said it is the breakthrough moments that make his work worthwhile. “Last year, a student who had not been able to pass any of my formal assessments for most of the year finally earned a B on one of my exams,” Hutch recalled. “The student stood up and said, ‘Mr. Hutch, I have to hug you!’” This is commitment to the process. #ThisIsBolles