Two Loved Faculty Graduate with the Class of 2023

Two Loved Faculty Graduate with the Class of 2023

Article: Saud Shawwaf ’23 | Photo: Hillary Rockwell Cahn ’88

As our 196th Commencement and the end of the 2022–2023 year approach quickly, we highlight two Suffield Academy legends as they begin their last few weeks on campus before retirement. Dave Godin and Tom Gotwals have left their marks on Suffield. Whether it be on the field or in the classroom, Mr. Godin and Mr. Gotwals showed this community what it means to be dedicated, caring, and passionate.

After a remarkable 43 years as a teacher, coach, and advisor, Mr. Godin will retire at the end of the school year. His accomplishments on the basketball court speak for themselves, winning the New England Championship in 1993 and shaping the athletic futures of hundreds of his players. In his storied career at Suffield, Mr. Godin has served as Dean of Students, Business Manager, and Director of Athletics. In addition to several prestigious Faculty Awards, Mr. Godin received the Donald P. Richter Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching. Over his years in the Mathematics, Department, Mr. Godin has taught everything from Algebra I up to Honors Precalculus. His creative teaching and genuine kindness distinguish him and inspire his students. Mr. Godin’s decades of service to our community will never be forgotten. He enriched our community and enriched the Suffield experience for everyone he met.

Always remember to assess and reassess where you are in life. My end result is being here at Suffield, and I couldn’t have asked for a better life doing what I love. Dave Godin

After forty years dedicated to teaching, Tom Gotwals will also retire this year. Mr. Gotwals served as our Bradford C. Gooch Music Chair over his 23 years at Suffield and has achieved affectionate notoriety for his LMQ [Live Music Quotient] announcements as he organized and advertised live musical performances for the whole community to enjoy. A recipient of the Elisha Benjamin Andrews Award for profound impact on student growth in and out of the classroom, Mr. Gotwals’ charisma and positivity has motivated the majority of our student body to support our SA musicians and brighten our days with beautiful melodies from his passionate students. In his Jazz Ensembles, Wind and String Ensembles, and Rock Band, Mr. Gotwals has helped countless students become avid musicians and shares his artistic skill and love for music with everyone on campus. Beyond the classroom and the stage, as self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Snow Boarding, Mr. Gotwals has also led that team for several years with enthusiasm and good humor.

While both faculty members will be dearly missed, we wish them all the best as they move on to the next chapters in their lives, reminding them in the words from Robert Frost quoted by Mr. Cahn each graduation, “Home is the place when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” We look forward to seeing you back on campus.