Voice Recognition

Golden Bear Memories

Roger Slawta - Class of 1972

"Vestal students in my era were greatly blessed to have been
taught by so many wonderful, caring and thoughtful people."

    While attending Vestal schools, from elementary through high school, I enjoyed being taught by many excellent and wonderful teachers. It was only later while in college that I realized that not all teachers are so competent or kind. In my last semester during high school my guidance counselor persuaded me to to an advanced math class, one which I didn't need to graduate, I had enough credits. The class was, as I recall, called "Fusion," which I think was some form of Calculous or something similar. It wasn't math as I normally knew it: linear, geometric, logical - it was theoretical and abstract, so to me it was quite difficult. Mr. Michael Putney was the teacher, and situations being what they were I gave a half-hearted effort. Nearing the half-way point, my average hovered somewhere around 50%. An important mid-term exam was approaching and by this time I had given up entirely. I knew that if I took the test I'd get a ZERO! So, I did something that I had never done - I skipped the class. Mr. Putney, of course, reported my absence to the Attendance Officer, Frank Buran, and I was called to his office the following day. I had heard some terrible things about this ex Marine, that he was loud, tough and mean so I entered his office with some trepidation. When I arrived he asked me why I didn't go to the class and I answered him honestly: (1) I didn't know anything about the subject matter; (2) I'd get a Zero if it took the test; and (3) I didn't need the credits anyway. At these words I was SURPRISED at Mr. Buran's reaction. He SMILED! I got the impression that he must have heard a lot of baloney over the years and appreciated my candor. He told me, "Slawta, I want you to go to Mr. Putney and tell him exactly what you told me."

    So I did. Mr. Putney responded by saying that if I tried I could still pass his class. Because he was so nice about it, I felt that I had to try. By the time the final exam rolled around my grade was still several points below passing, and I calculated that I needed at least an 85 to pass the class. I did my best, got an 80 and figured that I had failed Fusion. When the report card arrived in the mail I was SHOCKED to see a passing grade! Mr. Putney was a much better mathematician than I, so I gratefully accepted his grace toward me, bumping up my final score a few points. THANK YOU, Mr. Putney! Years later, I got to know Frank Buran better through my connection with Vestal football and found him to be one of the most kind and thoughtful man I've known. He was LOUD, but he had A BIG HEART! Though I didn't know Mr. Putney, he was QUIET and also had A BIG HEART! Vestal students in my era were greatly blessed to have been taught by so many wonderful, caring and thoughtful people.

Timothy Traver - Class of 1978

   Memories of good friends and good times going to Vestal High School. My Facebook Group, Vintage Vestal, is all about growing up in this Town we call home.

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