By: Gwen Pearson
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about life is its miraculous ability to shift, and shift quickly. Whether it be relationships, or family, or a job. For Mr. Keith Doucette, it was the latter. And with rumors and whispers, the story of his absence is relatively unknown or, at the very least, misconstrued. As many students and community members know, the school suffered from a severe financial crisis last year. There were financial cutbacks, so positions got eliminated. It was decided that the aviation program needed change. Mr. Lussier, who had been with the aviation program for twenty-four years, had seniority so, unfortunately, Mr. Doucette lost his job to him at the high school and was moved down to the middle school- where he was forced to bump another teacher out of a job. Kind of like a chain reaction.
“Politics come into play, and they don’t realize how it affects real people. Dollars and cents don’t show what happens behind the scenes,” says Doucette, of the financial cutbacks and his job change.
Things took an interesting turn when Mr. Lussier decided he wanted to move to Warwick schools. However, it was a tricky process and he didn’t officially land the job until after summer was over. Some students saw this as an opportunity to bring Mr. Doucette back to the high school. “I wanted to figure out what I could do,” Sophia Andrade, a senior at EGHS, said. “Mr. Doucette is like a father-figure to me.”
“She’s like the daughter I never had,” Mr. Doucette joked, as I interviewed both of them.
Sophia, and some other dedicated students, called on the East Greenwich superintendent, Dr. Mercurio, and organized a committee meeting to try to convince the board to bring Doucette back to the high school.
“If Mr. Lussier was leaving, why was Mr. Doucette at the middle school? It just made absolutely no sense,” says Sophia, who drove this point home at the meeting. Because of the massive turnout of students at the meeting and all their kind words about Doucette, the superintendent and the committee were convinced on the impact he had on everyone and decided to bring him back.
“It was heartwarming,” says Doucette. “I’ve always said I wanted to impact one student a year. You should try to do that as a teacher. Otherwise, what are you doing?”
Mr. Doucette has greatly impacted many more students than just one. From his unconventional classroom, to his welcoming, genuine personality he was clearly very much missed in the wake of his absence. I’m sure I speak for many when I say welcome back, Mr. Doucette!