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Pelham - Windham News | November 25, 2011 - 7 Babaian- continued from front page

As assistant coach under Babaian for two seasons, Chris Thomas shared his thoughts; “Tom, by far, is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met when it comes to football. I learned a lot in the last two years from him. What started out as being assistant coach has turned into a friendship.”

Despite enduring a difficult 2011 senior season, with respect to the win/loss column, Python star quarterback John Bourk echoed the sentiment of many current, as well as past players; “He’s an awesome coach.” The all-purpose, two- way standout added, “he taught me everything, including how to be a man and grow as an individual.” Teammate and fellow two-way player, Devin DeCarteret chimed in with thoughts of his own; “he taught us how to prepare for life - how to perform for yourself.” DeCarteret added, “He was my favorite coach – he was a big time motivator.”

In a similar light, Kress assessed the character and dedication of Babaian; “The thing I admire most about Tom Babaian as a coach is that no matter what the level of play, or the goals and expectations of his team each week and each year, he never stopped coaching to make his team the best they could be; whether it was watching film, scouting an opponent, or making specific game plans for each week, Tom never gave in.” Another senior from the 2011 squad, Greg Spicer who donned jersey #2 under Babaian, paid a tremendous tribute to his most recent coach. In a literary expression of his gratitude, Spicer focused on Babaian’s influence, as the subject matter of his college essay; ”there is so much I can say about coach, noted Spicer, … you can take anything you’d like from this.” So I did. “During my four years of high school, and more particularly the last two years, I have learned to sometimes accept failure, for the only person we can truly rely on sometimes, is only ourselves. One person has helped me learn this more than anyone I will ever meet in my entire life. This is my football coach, Thomas Babaian”, were the words of the young but philosophical essayist. The senior captain added that he reacted to things

Babaian said and specifically recounts one instance at the beginning of his junior year of football; “I tried my very best from that point on not to stink, not just at football, but everything I did. I began to understand what a work ethic was and I applied it towards everything I did in and outside of school.” Spicer then expounded upon the impact Babaian had in the transition from sports to every-day life; “My coach’s attitude and personality enforced a strict atmosphere in the weight room, an atmosphere that only accepted your utmost efforts. And for the next seven months, I did just that. I not only put forth my best efforts in the weight room; I did the best job I could at home with my four siblings, the best I could to get the grades I felt were possible, and the person I wanted to be, I became.”

But possibly the most inspirational and moving testimony came from the reflections of former Python All-State, Bill Helliwell. “Tom Babaian taught me everything I know about football and life in general” recalls the once hard-nosed, defensive nose tackle. “This man took me in as a punk from when I was coming into the high school. My freshman year I tried out for the football team and made it, only to be kicked off because I was a punk.” After dropping out of school, Helliwell returned to PHS the following year at the request of his mother. “My junior year he really taught me more than the sport of football but more of life lessons. Coach Babaian changed my whole life. I went from being a punk who loved to fight and fail school and (he) turned me into an all-star football player and high honor roll student.” The 2009 Maple Shrine player added; “He is the reason for me graduating high school

State Championship 2008

on time and going to college at Hesser College where I just graduated from. Tom Babaian was more than a (football) coach but a life coach and will be a life-long mentor to me … I will always stride for more than the ordinary because of your coaching and life lessons you taught me.” Todd Kress commented on the impact Coach Babaian has had specifically on the PHS football program; “What he and his boys endured over the past two seasons, and still came out playing hard and giving it their all each week, that is who Tom Babaian is, and how he should be remembered as a coach; a guy who never quit and a coach who young men wanted to play hard for. On behalf of all the coaches here at PHS, thank you Tom Babaian for being a role model for all of us to emulate.” And congratulations, on playing


Pelham Memorial School Honors All Servicemen and Service Women

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Students offer their right hands to cover their hearts during the playing of the National Anthem

by Doug Robinson The Pelham Memorial School 7th & 8th Grade Band and the

Pelham High School Band combined their talents, giving thanks and tribute to all our service men and women at their recent Patriotic Presentation. The presentation dedicated to the 9/11 10-year anniversary, both the Afghanistan War and the Gulf Crisis, and any students/teachers/parents who have had family fight for our country freedom.

Conductor Paul Santerre directs the band while Pelham VFW members salute the American Flag during the Patriot’s Ceremony.

Students of Pelham Memorial School wrote essays about “What it means to be a good Patriot.” Students wrote of liberty freedom, and to be free, it has its price. Students spoke of unity and strength while others spoke of soldiers as being her hero’s. As the band played the American anthem, students stood in silence, offering their right hand of respect, covering their heart, for those who have served.

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Staff photos by Doug Robinson

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