Hanover High celebrates teacher Bill Murphy’s 60 years in the classroom

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    Hanover High School teacher Bill Murphy hugs Mel Candon, the food service director, at the school on Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Hanover, N.H. The school celebrated Murphy's career. After being told his favorite dessert was pie, Candon baked six different kinds of pie, "one for each decade," she said. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

  • Hanover High School teacher Bill Murphy has been teaching at the school for 60 years. The school celebrated his long teaching career on Thursday, June, 3, 2021, in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — Jennifer Hauck

  • A yearbook shows Hanover High School teacher Bill Murphy from the 1960s. Murphy has been teaching at the school for 60 years and will continue teaching into the future. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High School teacher Bill Hammond gives fellow teacher Bill Murphy a brief shoulder massage on Thursday, June 3, 2021 in Hanover N.H. On the right is Linda Addante, council executive at the school. The school was celebrating Murphy's 60-year teaching career. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/4/2021 11:32:55 PM
Modified: 6/4/2021 11:32:52 PM

HANOVER — When Hanover High School this week held its annual recognition ceremony for faculty and staff who are retiring or leaving the district, it also opted to celebrate social studies teacher Bill Murphy’s 60-year career in education.

Though, at 83, Murphy has no plans to leave.

“I started (teaching at Hanover) at 23; I’m still 23,” Murphy said at the event Thursday in the Hanover High gym.

The celebration began with a video during a districtwide Zoom meeting, where clips of alumni thanked Murphy for his impact on their lives. One video had a family of three generations of Murphy’s students — grandfather, mother, and grandson.

The video was edited by 2012 Hanover High graduate and former colleague Gabe Brison-Trezise.

“He’s an institution,” Brison-Trezise said. “He will strike up a conversation with anybody, even a complete stranger. He really has an earnest interest in getting to know people and fostering community, both at Hanover High School and the broader political world. ... Even when he’s busy with grading or other responsibilities, he makes time for students and cares (not only) about their academic success, but also their emotional well-being.”

Hanging on the gymnasium wall behind those who gathered to celebrate were two banners with 19 Quiz Bowl wins listed, tangible evidence of Murphy’s impact on the school.

Murphy began and continues to coach the Hanover Quiz Bowl team, which Brison-Trezise joined as a freshman.

Brison-Trezise remembers Murphy driving the team to competitions in his own car, a fond memory that Murphy shares.

After graduating from college, Brison-Trezise returned to coach the team with Murphy. Even as colleagues, he couldn’t bring himself to call him by his given name.

“Nobody I know called him Bill. It’s either Murph or Mr. Murphy,” said Brison-Trezise. “(In) these videos that I got in from alumni who graduated decades ago, there’s one who is working in intelligence for the government, and he graduated in 1986 I think, and he still calls him Mr. Murphy. I guess it’s a sign of respect.”

Respect is something Murphy clearly has in spades, and not only from the school where he teaches.

Math teacher Eve Ermer says her son, who went to school in Thetford, has “the best memories” of Murphy at Quiz Bowl competitions. At the time, Ermer wasn’t teaching at Hanover, so her son’s only connection to Murphy was as the coach of the competing team.

Lebanon High School also honored Murphy’s achievement, sending a large card signed by students on the Lebanon student council.

Murphy was humble about the recognition. “If they ever think I’m not doing a good job, I’ll leave,” he said.

Murphy seems to have endless new ideas and thoughts to better his community. In addition to starting the Quiz Bowl team (and being part of the group that began the NH Quiz Bowl League), he ran against President Donald Trump in the 2020 New Hampshire Republican primary, saying Trump’s presidency was “a terrible model for American youth.”

Murphy, one of 17 candidates on the GOP ballot, won 447 votes across New Hampshire.

This year, he’s written and compiled a history of Hanover High School, with the help of the school community.

“Last year with the pandemic, it seemed like an appropriate thing to do to talk and communicate with other people to pull us together,” Murphy said.

He brought the first copy of the book with him to the event. Once he gets it published, he plans to use any proceeds or donations to have “the biggest party (the) school has ever seen” on June 18, 2022.

Murphy credits his late wife Kay for everything he’s been able to do.

“I’ll get teary, because she was everything,” he said. “She made it possible that I could do all these other things. ... I said if I am ever recognized, I want to be recognized with my wife.”

That request was honored on the timeline of his teaching career, put up in the hallway by current student Josh Stearns. At the end of the timeline, a single-spaced, full page of text is posted, written by Murphy about Kay and how much he loves her.

Stearns’ thoughts on Murphy, written over email Thursday evening, sum up how many of his students see and remember him.

Murphy not only is an advocate for student voices, Stearns said, but teaches students to use their voices themselves, leading by example and encouraging critical thinking.

“By working at HHS across many generations, he has truly made an impact on the world. Mr. Murphy leads by example to teach students about their civic responsibilities. Class with him is always fun and lively, and I hope to have him again as a teacher in the future,” Stearns wrote.

Jasmine Taudvin can be reached at jtaudvin@vnews.com.

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