Happy Retirement, Mr. Durr!

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Photo by Mr. Durr

By Salil Karkhanis

At the end of the 2023-2024 school year, Williamsville East High School is sad to say farewell to a beloved gym teacher. Mr. Durr is retiring after spending 31 years teaching and coaching here. Mr. Durr has spent more than half of his life teaching and is sad to say goodbye to this school as he has made a lot of memories here.  

Mr. Durr grew up in Clarence and graduated from Clarence High School. He then went on to Canisius College to become a certified P.E. teacher. After he graduated in 1992, he began his student teaching at KC. In the fall of 1993, Mr. Durr started teaching at Williamsville East. Ever since he was a boy, he knew that he wanted to go into teaching.

Mr. Durr was very active when he was young and participated in multiple sports. Before high school, he played youth basketball and then went on to play varsity baseball and varsity soccer in high school. In 9th grade, Mr. Durr finally selected P.E. as the class he would teach because of the large impact his coaches played in his life. Mr. Durr’s high school coaches are some of the role models he looks up to in life.

Here at East, Mr. Durr has become highly involved in its extracurriculars. In 1995, he became the modified softball, varsity girls tennis, and jv girls basketball coach. After gaining more experience, he coached varsity girls soccer, varsity girls basketball, and varsity girls softball. He is currently a coach at Clarence High School and referees both girls and boys league basketball matches.  On a further note, he is also a member of the Erie County Section VI Athletic Board.

After teaching for 31 years, Mr. Durr has a lot of respect for the faculty and its students. He was once a student co-advisor for NHS along with Mrs. Yermas. Through this experience, he has come to appreciate and love, “how much effort students put into their respective sports, despite how much academics are emphasized at this school. It’s definitely a good thing that students value their studies a lot, which makes it even more impressive how good our teams are.” Mr. Durr also recalls a time when East was very different. Around 15-20 years ago, in a pre-Covid world, students would come down to P.E. a lot more often. These days, he wishes students would spend their free periods hanging out with friends in Gym class. “ Back then, 9th period was a lot different than it is today. Today the halls and the Gym are basically empty, but around 15-20 years ago I used to play basketball against some kids here. We would also set up tables for table tennis tournaments or a competitive badminton session. I remember when we had teachers vs. students basketball matches at the end of the day.”

Even though his teaching experience has changed throughout the years, he finds all of his classes to be fun and the best part is engaging with the students. Through a student’s 4 years at East, he makes memorable bonds with those who are engaged in class. His main motto is the importance of physical exercise and getting a breath of fresh air. His most memorable experience would be in 2019, when he coached the varsity girls softball team to a state championship. Mr. Durr felt so proud of his team and will hold on to that memory for years to come.  

Outside of school, Mr. Durr loves jet skiing and playing golf on the weekend. As a gym teacher, he exercises daily. After retirement, he still has plans to work in the summer at the Clarence town pool and continue coaching at Clarence. His final parting words of wisdom to his students are, “Enjoy being high school students, because you only get 4 years here, and make sure to play as many sports as you can. You’ll make lifelong memories.” Maybe our school of tryhards should listen to his advice and enjoy our time here. Before you know it you’ll be off to college, and now Mr. Durr will be leaving us. Even though he’ll be gone from East, he’ll still be heavily involved in the community and guide students on the right path. We wish him good health and happiness in his future endeavors!