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Ralph D. Small Award 

A Tribute to Mr. Small

Dear Westbrook High School Alum,

We remain grateful to Westbrook High School for a fine public high school education. The overall quality of the teachers, administrators, educational programs, extra-curricular activities and facilities contributed amply to our learning and growth.

We have decided to recognize a particularly outstanding WHS teacher and to show our appreciation by establishing a scholarship for a WHS senior in his honor.

Ralph Small taught math at Westbrook High School for 43 years. Not long after his start in 1965, he became chairman of the math department, a post he would hold for 30 years. For most of his tenure, he taught honors math for all four grades. Mr. Small was one of the early adopters of computers in the classroom and he initiated instruction in several introductory courses. He also developed a math of finance course to add to the curriculum. In the early 1970’s, he helped organize the Pi-Cone math league, a state high school math competition, a version of which still exists. From the mid-90's until his retirement in 2007, Mr. Small led Advanced Placement calculus and pre-calculus classes.

We are honoring Mr. Small for his teaching excellence. His enthusiasm was genuine and unflagging and he provided opportunities for his students to share some of that passion. He was always well prepared and managed to effectively challenge his students just enough to make learning enjoyable. He was able to teach with the understanding of the differing interest and ability of his students and he made himself available to those students seeking help or showing additional interest.

In 2021, the ‘Ralph D. Small Math Award’ was launched with a $5,000 scholarship going to Jackson Thayer on Class Night 2021. The award is given to a WHS senior, selected by the WHS faculty committee, who demonstrates exemplary achievement and interest in mathematics.

We have now begun the task of raising contributions to fund the award for 2022 and beyond. This website  has been developed to facilitate this effort. We plan to make the award available for the next 25 years and have set a fundraising goal of $100,000. We hope to complete the primary fundraising by the end of 2022.

Recently, we established the ‘Ralph D. Small Math Award Fund’ with the Maine Community Foundation ( Maine Community Foundation is an established (30 plus years) non-profit organization managing hundreds of scholarship funds statewide. MCF’s website can provide helpful information regarding donations, management of funds and tax issues.

Mr. Small, who is doing well in retirement, says he has been energized (and humbled) by this honor. The 2021 award winner, Jackson Thayer, wrote an appreciative note relaying how the assistance made a difference in taking on his freshman year at Northeastern.

We hope you are doing well and that your Westbrook High School experience remains a fond memory. Please take this opportunity to give back by assisting a deserving senior intending to continue his/her education. Your donation will also serve to honor Mr. Small, a truly remarkable and memorable Westbrook High School teacher.

Our regards,

Brad Hammond '74   Simon Snyder '73

Frank Pecoraro '73   Don Douglas '69

Sam Broaddus '69   Kathleen Athearn '04

Gregory Knapton '88

Right now, the thing I need the most help on is contacting people on the lists. If you have a friend, relative, etc. that I don't have contact information for, you could send them a link to this website and let them decide if they want to be involved.  I won't be putting any contact information on the website. Use the form at the bottom of the page to send me contact information for yourself or others, and any other feedback that you have!

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