About Me

In 1965, after graduating from a SUNY College, I began teaching social studies in a small rural school in upstate New York. Over the next 32 years I receive certification as a high school principal, health teacher and teacher of special education. During a two-year hiatus from teaching in the public school system I served as a Education Coordinator for the New York State Division for Youth. In 1988 I returned to teaching and spent the last 10 years teaching an 8-1-1 high school special education class at a public high school in Northern New York. During my years at this school I was also responsible for developing, maintaining and integrating a Project Adventure site into a district wide curriculum. I retired from classroom teaching in 1998 but still was responsible for the use of the Project Adventure site.

Marge & Me

Marge & Me

In February 1999, while on vacation in the Caribbean I was struck by a wave which drove me to the bottom breaking four vertebrae in my neck and leaving me with quadriplegia. After six months of hospitalization and extensive therapy at Craig Hospital I was finally able to return home to begin my new life. The readjustments demanded by our new lifestyle, while extremely difficult for my wife and myself, have been made easier by the continuous support of family and friends. I approach my new daily life with Christopher Reeve’s philosophy; “I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I will live my life. I don’t mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful toward recovery.” I have returned to many of the outdoor activities that provided me with such pleasure prior to my accident. Recently I have begun doing some motivational speaking in local schools trying to help students realize the personal strength that lies within them.

4 responses to “About Me

  1. Rock On!!!

  2. I remember when this happened to you and the school raised money and got you a bike. I am so glad you are doing so well, I loved project adventure and still talk about the catwalk, freezing up on that jump, and the other group activities!!!

  3. Good for you brother …keep it going …Good Luck

  4. Max Cleveland

    Dear Dick,
    Imagine my pleasant surprise when I opened my latest issue of Columns
    and read the story about you! Wow, you’ve accomplished a lot since the
    time you came and spoke to my class in DeRuyter. I’m SO glad you are
    doing so well…and amazed at how much you’ve accomplished. I’m proud
    of you! Love ya! Max Lehrman Cleveland

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