Writer is indebted to Kent’s teacher who impacted his life
The sun was shining late summer in Kent when I entered my sixth grade class and met my new teacher, Carl Carter. Her smile was welcoming and her laugh infectious. As the days turned into autumn, I grew more and more grateful that he was my teacher. We would play soccer, basketball and other games during recess and always talk about our love for the outdoors. His words were always encouraging and he reminded me to follow my dreams.
When I left Franklin Elementary School, I took away a lot more than I could have imagined. In 1976, while in Kent Roosevelt High School, Mr. Carter asked me if I could help him build the log cabin of his dreams just outside of Kent. Of course, I said “yes”.
That winter it was amazing to work with a man who had become so much more than a teacher. It was around this time that Mr. Carter gave me the nickname “Animal”. When I asked why Animal, he said your determination is like that of an animal. After graduating from Roosevelt and then later from Kent State, our lives took us in different directions until years later. It was in August 2006 when I got a call from Mr. Carter. As always, the conversation was heartening and heartwarming. Then something extraordinary happened. He asked me if I had followed my dream of building a cabin in Montana. It was something we talked about in 1976. I told him that I had just bought land there and that I was going to start building the following year. Immediately Mr. Carter said, “Count me in Animal, I’m coming to help you.” ”
In the summer of 2007, Carl Carter came to my Montana property and helped me make my dream come true. I can’t express how happy I was to have her there. It was beautiful. In the fall of 2021, I called Carl to catch up. We talked about our families and remembered all those good times. I told Carl that besides my father, he had been the most influential man in my life. He thanked me for the kind words and we vowed to keep in touch.
On December 5, 2021, Carl texted me and told me he had bad luck and had been in the hospital for seven days. We talked about his health and he asked me about my new home in the mountains of Georgia. On December 19, Carl texted me and asked for pictures of my house and the surrounding mountains. When sending the photos, he replied, âLovely place, it looks peaceful. It completes a picture in my mind.
Carl Carter passed away on December 23, 2021. Words cannot describe how I feel at the loss of this great man. His impact in my life will never be forgotten. I want to thank the Kent City Schools for hiring such a wonderful human being and bringing him into my life.
Scott Thomas, 1977 graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School