To The Editor:
G. Ray Bodley High School is losing a legend.
That word is sometimes thrown around and applied too loosely; the characterization often too veiled.
However, for the purpose of describing Mr. Len Senecal, it seems to fit all too well.
I first met him my sophomore year.
I had gone to his classroom to turn in my yearbook money, not thinking anything of what else could come about from this brief interaction.
Here I find this incredible educator that I knew nothing about at the time, sitting behind a desk covered in essays and literature that he looked upon through his signature circle-framed glasses while sporting his trademark ponytail.
He told me that he had heard a lot about me and was interested in working with me.
Before I knew it, Mr. Senecal had my yearbook money and I had a daily weather reporting gig in his newspaper, one that I would hold through this week, for the better part of the past seven years.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I came to know Mr. Senecal quite well through taking four consecutive semesters of his journalism class.
In no time, senior year rolled around and I was writing big stories for The Raider and was named Editor-in-Chief of the Fultonian.
We kept spending more and more time together, and were putting out content that we were extremely proud of. That was incredibly rewarding.
My favorite memory of Mr. Senecal has to be during my senior year when we both stayed after school to finish off some yearbook pages, as I believe we were getting close to a deadline.
In true Senecal fashion, he began blaring Queen, the eponymous album of my favorite band, and before I knew it he was looking right at me through his office window belting out the song “Jesus.” That was pretty damn cool.
The songs played on, and time also marched on. Before I knew it I was leaving the high school, and leaving behind my daily dose of Mr. Senecal.
I am grateful that he let me keep providing weather forecasts for RaiderNet Daily, as I have gotten to do what I love the most while keeping in daily contact with the man at GRB who helped get my name out there on a larger scale.
Before I left the building for the final time as a student, Mr. Senecal wrote the most incredible letter of recommendation about me (one that I admittedly still read when I am feeling down), and also was kind enough to present me with one final tangible gift.
He gave me a card on my last day in the building, while I was selling yearbooks, one which I was expecting to be an ordinary congratulatory graduation card.
However, inside, I found a check for the exact amount of money I had paid for my yearbook that year. It was his way of repaying me for the many hours I had put into it, and was the most unnecessary, thoughtful and poignant gift I have ever received.
Think about it: you have that one teacher who you can say without any doubt had a tremendous impact on you as a student and a person, we all do.
I can say unequivocally that Mr. Senecal is that one teacher for me.
From collaborating and producing excellent journalism and a phenomenal yearbook, to sharing stories and reveling in our shared music interests, I have been proud to call Mr. Senecal a friend for many years.
It is poetic, and has not been lost on me, that as I have just graduated from college, Mr. Senecal will be graduating from his duties as by far the hardest working member of the staff at GRB.
It goes without saying that this is an enormous loss to the school and the community, but the legacy that he leaves behind of a no-nonsense approach to teaching English and journalism and an indefatigable dedication to excellence is one that should be recognized and celebrated for many, many years to come.
G. Ray Bodley High School Class of 2012
June 10, 2016