Fairport High celebrates times three
Basketball exploits, Hoffman and principal's award lift spirits
(March 7, 2006) — FAIRPORT — Fairport High School was proof Monday that good
things come in threes.
Within days, David Paddock was named the state's principal of the year, the
boys varsity basketball team clinched the Section V title and their own
"Golden Boy" took home his, and their, first Oscar.
Some students and staff are thrilled about the recent events and believe it's
a sign of better things to come, especially Paddock, who attributes the
recognition he got to the teenagers he looks after and the staff that supports
"It's been a good week," Paddock said proudly on Monday.
The fun actually started Thursday, when Paddock was named the "High School
Principal of the Year" by the School Administrators Association of New York
State. On Friday, the school spent the day celebrating its Oscar-nominated
alumnus, Philip Seymour Hoffman, ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards, at which
Hoffman won best actor honors.
Then Saturday, the boys varsity basketball team clinched its first Section V
title in 31 years. Sunday's win by Hoffman was "the icing on the cake," said
The spate of good news was welcome to the high school after one of the most
difficult periods in recent history, said Paddock. The community seemed at
odds over a recent capital project and it became clear that the typically
close-knit area was splintering.
"We needed this," said Paddock, "As we heal, I feel some good news was
Paddock's award is an acknowledgment for demonstrating the kind of leadership
that brings about the strengths of a school, said Michelle Hebert, a
spokeswoman for the School Administrators Association of New York State.
Three large corkboards in Paddock's office are full of pictures he has
collected over the years of students who have come and gone. Mementos of
previous classes also are among the posters and newspaper clippings. His door
"is always open," said senior Katie LaShomb, 18, the senior class vice
"He knows everybody, their parents, achievements," LaShomb said, who jokingly
calls him "old man."
Paddock has been hit in the face with pies, wrestled against students twice,
suffered hair clippers in the hands of amateurs and stood on the roof of the
school, all in the name of creating a motivating learning environment. He
regularly has breakfast with students and has made a point of giving out
business cards with his cell phone number to seniors.
"He's like a big kid," said LaShomb of Paddock. "He really loves his job, you
can tell." Paddock, in his 11th year as principal, was nominated by a former
student for his award and now is in the running for recognition at the
Hoffman's accomplishment hopefully will draw more attention to the theater
program, said Keri Griffith, advanced theater teacher and improv troupe
"It shines a light on the program," said Griffith, "We have so many talented
kids; who knows if I'm teaching the next Philip Seymour Hoffman."
Senior Kirk Stevens, 18, suggested the school change the vague reference to
numerous awards under Hoffman's plaque on the Wall of Fame to "Academy Award
"There's definitely a buzz. I'm excited to hear what he's going to do in the
future," said Stevens, who studies drama.
The basketball team's success can be attributed to its players, said coach
Scott Fitch, adding that they're great kids both on and off the court.
"There's a lot to be excited about," said Jim Zumbo, Fairport's director of
physical education, health and athletics.
Asked about the basketball team's hopes for the rest of the playoffs, he said,
"I think we have the talent, capability and momentum to go all the way."
Other Raiders have shown the team it's possible.