Letter: Remembering Mr. Dirk Bollenback

To the Editor:

Throughout college and law school I had no finer teacher than Mr. Dirk Bollenback.

I have often reflected upon the quality of teachers I experienced at Ridgefield High School and wondered why some of them were not teaching at the college level. I suspect it was partly because they actually liked us at our nascent stage of development — both intellectually and in our quest to become somewhat competent human beings.

Mr. Bollenback was simply the best among that group of exemplary career educators.

I will always cherish the climactic conclusion to his lecture about Hitler’s manipulation of the German people into WWII. He stepped from chair to desk-top, stood and sang just the first stanza of “Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles" as the Nazis had done over and over to hijack the national anthem and the German nation. It was dramatic but yet natural, seemingly unstaged and therefore totally effective. He gave us goose bumps. He made us feel what the German people must have felt.

He was also known to be a great hardball pitcher.

It is both poignant and timely that he taught civics and civility; a subject and way of being we seem to have lost.

He cultivated, planted and nurtured Lincoln’s “mystic chords of memory” in his students, forever summoning us to “the better angels of our natures.”

For that, I know that I speak for many others in saying, we are grateful.

My deepest sympathy to his family.

Dave Jenny

Class of 1968