When I was 21 years old I thought I knew it all and that my parents knew absolutely nothing. By the time I turned 22 and was working in my first job with real bills to pay, I was amazed at how much my parents learned in just 12 short months. Since becoming an adult and starting a family, my appreciation for the sacrifices they made for me has only grown. One such sacrifice was giving me a Catholic education; while I did not appreciate it at the time, I have come to understand that the foundation such an education provides has made me every bit of who I am today.
I was fortunate to have been taught by many wonderful teachers during my lifetime but there is one high school teacher of mine who stands out for many reasons and his name is Ernie Bourcier; otherwise known as Mr. B. At 70 years young, Mr. B. remains a full time teacher at Trinity Catholic High School where he has taught for the past 46 years. This amazes me to no end because I have been unable to sit still in a job for more than 5 years at a clip and he has been in the same place for over four and a half decades.
I wanted to interview Ernie to understand what it is about Catholic High that encourages teachers to stay so long as he is not the only one with decades of experience at the school. In short, he views teaching as a true vocation; he really wants to see students become the best they can be and the community around the school has become his family. “You are married to this school, Ernie,” a former librarian would remind him.
To really understand Ernie, you have to understand his upbringing in New Bedford, MA. His family was a religious one and religion had a very profound impact on his life. Listen to this interview and you will hear about how boxing gloves were used in place of detentions, the profound impact that Ernie’s sister had on his own life, and Ernie’s own experiences with religious life. Former students will recognize the story about the chickens! Listen more and you will come to understand what it was like being a rookie teacher in 1968 and why, 46 years later, Mr. B. remains faithfully devoted to his bride; Trinity Catholic High School.
I encourage you to listen to this interview up until the very end to learn more about the local hero we have in Ernie Bourcier.
Like Columbo, there’s just one more thing. I ask that you take the time in the near future to think about a teacher who has had an impact on your life. Find some way to share your appreciation with them. We all know that our teachers are not compensated based on what they are truly worth so take a minute to let them know how much they are valued. In the case of Catholic High, you can always send a donation to:
Trinity Catholic High School
926 Newfield Avenue
Stamford, CT 06905
Thank you for listening, now go thank a teacher!