A former student reflects on the bittersweet departure of this great Christian Brothers teacher and mentor. Mr. Randall McClure has been a great mentor to the Christian Brothers community as a literature teacher and the S.A.G.E.S director. He has been teaching for 37 years and every year has been an adventure. Led by Mr. McClure, Students Achieving Greater […]
A former student reflects on the bittersweet departure of this great Christian Brothers teacher and mentor.
Mr. Randall McClure has been a great mentor to the Christian Brothers community as a literature teacher and the S.A.G.E.S director. He has been teaching for 37 years and every year has been an adventure.
Led by Mr. McClure, Students Achieving Greater Educational Success is a program at CB for students who need a little extra help in school. Each year Mr. McClure picks a total of 25 students out of 100+ applicants to be accepted for the program who did not quite get enough on the entrance exam to get into to Christian Brothers
Every year he has done this program and each year he has had to remove students from the program because of failing to follow their contract or because of behavior issues. The success rate for a Sage student is high, with 88% of making it into their junior year.
Mr. McClure is not leaving because he wants to but is “leaving with great trepidation, meaning I don’t really want to” he says as sadness comes over him.
He is leaving because of health issues and some other personal reasons he has. In the past, he had to have surgery on his head because he had cancer and they had to fix it. He has also said it is because each year the students have become less interested in working hard
The next step in Mr. McClure’s life is one of the unknowns after this year. He loves his job and loves teaching, so he cannot see himself not teaching, which is why there is an sense of the unknown of what he is going to do this coming fall.
He sensed it was time to leave just like someone can sense it is time to go to school or go to bed. It is something in his body and mind that told him he has been through a lot and it is time to leave.
Mr. McClure changed rooms three years ago from his comfy, stuffy, full of character portable to room 602. It has been a big change for him, but a good change nonetheless.
The room is closer to the library, which is where the reading labs would be done. These would help students read faster and more words while comprehending each word and phrase.
Mr. McClure does not just teach S.A.G.E.S, he teaches college prep and fundamental college prep freshmen. He can reach a whole other class of students that may need just a little help in their reading but are not in S.A.G.E.S.
Memories are windows into our past for us to ponder on the good times more often than the bad. Everyone has these memories especially Christian Brother’s beloved Randall McClure.
Every memory comes back to him when he looks at the pictures he has of each sage class he has taught over the years. He has a scrapbook of all of these classes as well as a football with all the signatures from a class of wonderful students.
Mr. McClure has impacted each student who has come through his program. Some of his past sage students still keep in contact with him that he had from five to 10 years ago.
“That is like asking ‘who is your favorite child in a family?'” Mr. McClure reacts when asked of his best or favorite memory.
There are too many memories for Mr. McClure to remember to focus on his “favorite” but some of his favorite students are the ones that he has had to fight the biggest battles with.
S.A.G.E.S may be a way for someone to get into Christian Brothers, but it is a very challenging program. It comes down to an ultimatum: get through this tough time and have a chance for a future or throw away everything to just sit on the couch and be comfortable because life is not comfortable.
Some students will choose to throw away their life because they do not have a support system other than Mr. McClure. Some will choose the harder, but better road of fighting through everything.
S.A.G.E.S. has a lot of different faces come through the program each year, but all the students are the same — same attitude and conflicted reasons on being there, as well as teacher they do not know.
In Mr. McClure’s class, the students change but the behavior stays. There is that one student who does not want to work hard or is lazy and there is a student who will work harder than anyone.
That one lazy student was myself my freshman year when I took the class. Mr. McClure had sayings on the wall when I was a freshman and the only reason I asked questions was because of one of them.
This interesting proverb has shaped my life for the better and it is a very true and powerful statement that I can remember from my freshman year when I was in S.A.G.E.S.
Mr. McClure has taught me so much about life in general by just having that poster up there. I have grown so much since my freshman year just because of what Mr. McClure has taught me.
It is sad to see him leave and Heidi Holman (’14) would agree with me on that. She says Mr. McClure has been one of the people who really knows what she has gone through. She owes a lot to him and he has taught her so much over the years.
She is disappointed and sad he is leaving because he was such an influential person in her life. She is excited he is going to get a chance to do whatever he wants with himself or his family.
“Mr. McClure is one of the best teachers Christian Brothers has ever had and ever will have” she says with great profundity.
He has been a great mentor to her as well as the rest of the sage students. Mr. McClure brought her confidence up by calling her “one of the hardest working sages in the class”. I always joke around with her and say I was the hardest working sage, but she worked her tail off everyday to get the grades.
She would not have been able to succeed without Mr. McClure helping her through the hard times. He gave her an opportunity to achieve greatness through his love and kindness as well as passion to teach students.
She would like to thank Mr. McClure for giving her the chance to go to such a great school in Christian Brothers. Heidi is planning on going to Ex’pression college for Digital Arts in Emeryville to study animation next year.
Mr. McClure opened her door to go to CB and in turn, without knowing, it gave Heidi a chance to figure out her dream.
There have been moments in Mr. McClure’s teaching career at CB that have proven to be bonding moments for him and his students. Each year he has had one of these moments but with a different class.
Parents have the same view on the subject of Mr. McClure leaving. My mom, Elizabeth Miller, believes it is a new adventure for him and also believes he has been an asset to the Christian Brothers community.
Mr. McClure really prepared me to go to Saint Mary’s College, the place I plan on attending this coming fall.
“He has been able to help my son and other young men and women to be prepared for college,” my mom says, adding how much Mr. McClure has helped me through S.A.G.E.S.
My mom’s favorite memory is of Mr. McClure having to juggle football and school. It reminds my mom about me because I have to do the same with my baseball.
He has truly prepared me through time management, asking questions, study skills, as well as helping read faster and comprehend more. Everyone is sad to see Mr. McClure leave and some are shocked to even hear that he is leaving.
Jackson Holman (’17) says Mr. McClure is his favorite teacher because he wants to teach each student to achieve in school.
A fellow sage, Zachary Reeder (’17) agrees with Jackson saying it is sad Mr. McClure is leaving. Zachary enjoyed all of Mr. McClure’s stories about his life and how he also talked about his background, surprising Zachary because it is so sad and out of the ordinary.
Many these stories are what built the relationship between the S.A.G.E.S. and Mr. McClure. Only sage students know these stories because the stories were so impactful and personal and Mr. McClure needed some way to show us that our lives we not really that bad.
I am speaking for all S.A.G.E.S. when I say that we fought to be here and it is a great honor to have Mr. McClure teach us with great tenacity and patience to teach us.
On the last day when we leave his classroom and he shakes our hands or hugs us, he cries and gets emotional because he cares so much for his students. Not every teacher can have that said about them with the relationship with their students.
Mr. McClure will always have a special place in our heart as his students because of the fact he gave us all an opportunity to achieve and do great things.