Sanford community comes together to honor the beloved teacher and coach
BY MADISON OSBORNE, STAFF WRITER
The Sanford Schools Legacy Foundation recently announced the Margaret Chase Smith School Gymnasium will be dedicated to the late Richard Wilkins, a beloved teacher and coach in Sanford Schools for more than 32 years. Wilkins passed from cancer approximately one year ago.
A private ceremony was held on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. in the Margaret Chase Smith (MCS) School Gymnasium for family and invited guests. In attendance were Wilkin’s wife Christine, his daughter Autumn and her husband Josh, and Wilkin’s twin brother, Robert.
A video of the dedication ceremony can be found here.
Wilkins was also honored in a moment of silence at the football homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 30. Sanford football players held the plaque that will officially mark the dedicated gymnasium. Photos below are provided by Amy Sevigny.
Wilkins was a 1981 graduate of SHS. He was a health and physical education teacher and taught at the high school and MCS during his tenure. He also coached baseball and football.
“He was the type of educator who made every student smile and excited to attend school,” said Tracie Hallissey, MCS principal. “Staff enjoyed his positive attitude and ability to make every student feel comfortable no matter the challenge.”
Hallissey mentioned Wilkins had just opened the new gymnasium one year earlier and was instrumental in its design.
According to Hallissey, the community has rallied together for several months by collecting monetary donations to ensure every activity held in the gymnasium in the future will be held in his honor. Sanford Legacy Foundations and the Sanford Federation of Teachers (SFT) made donations to aid these efforts. The SFT also helped contribute to the birth of a scholarship in his memory.
Wilkins was married to Christine L. Wilkins for 29 years and they had one daughter, Autumn E Wilkins. Wilkens and his daughter loved volunteering as fly fishing instructors; they volunteered for eight years at Casting for Recovery Maine.
“His passing has left a hole in our hearts, but we know that having him a part of our building will remind us of the great memories we once shared,” said Hallissey.