This morning I was watching Coldplay on The Today Show, when I saw “Glastonbury” pop up in the ticker on the bottom of the screen. I paid attention for a moment, only to find out that Douglas Hutton — also known as Hutton — has won a prestigious Milken Award. Even better, he’s the only Connecticut teach to win one this year.
It will probably come as quite a surprise to you that I took (and passed) physics in high school, but I did… and it was thanks to Hutton. I’m just glad to see he survived that year with his will to teach still in tact. You see, I was in a class full of mostly seniors (with a few stray, over-achieving juniors) and it was the last period of the day. One of us was even smart enough to take it pass/fail. (Hutton was not a fan of this. He thought that if you didn’t pass your final exam, you shouldn’t pass the class.)
My classmates and I were obnoxious and hilarious. We often broke out into song singing “Sister Christian” which you probably know better as “Motoring.” Someone would start banging out the drumbeat on the desk and we’d all sing, “Moootorin! What’s your price for flight?” Once, when Hutton was out sick, our substitute (an old Morgan Freeman lookalike named Otis) looked the other way while we put one of our classmates in a trapdoor and locked him beneath the school.
According to NBCConnecticut:
He is so successful that students sometimes take on the role of teachers themselves as they present demonstrations to each other and using critical thinking skills to arrive at the correct conclusions.
Needless to say, we weren’t allowed to devise our own experiments. That’s for the well-behaved classes.
But these Milken folks are right; Hutton did explain physics to us in real world terms. When we were learning about trajectory we went outside and threw softballs. Once he had us dodging traffic with one of those rolling-measuring things. Another time, a kid brought in his bass guitar and we did an experiment to find out what it would take to make the windows shake.
We congratulate you, Hutton…and promise not to tell anyone about the Hutton Van you shared with your brothers.
(If any of my old classmates are out there and have a digitized copy of the picture we took with Hutton at the Senior Ball, let me know.)