KINGSTON — Jamie Martin hadn't taught at Sanborn Regional High School for 12 years, but his legacy was remembered here yesterday by several hundred students, faculty and staff.
They gathered behind the school, along with the longtime teacher and coach's family, to dedicate the track in Martin's name.
Martin, 69, died of pancreatic cancer Dec. 23, only a week after more than 100 former students and colleagues honored him with a special tribute. Many of those same people celebrated his life again yesterday.
Principal Brian Stack, School Board Chairwoman Nancy Ross and alumni told the crowd how the former English department head and track and cross-country coach influenced his students' lives.
Stack read a letter from 1994 graduate Michelle Bleakley Corey. She helped spearhead the drive to rename the track in Martin's honor.
"He was not only the best English teacher, but coach as well," wrote Corey, who couldn't attend the ceremony. "He taught us what hard work and dedication was all about. He instilled Sanborn pride in all of us that I will carry for the rest of my life."
Ross said she had hadn't met Martin until a sports banquet 15 years ago. She was immediately impressed by how much he cared for the students.
"He made each one feel truly special, no matter how big or small their accomplishment," Ross said.
Martin taught at the school from 1977 until 1999, when he was appointed vice principal of White Mountain Regional High School in Whitefield. In 2001, the family moved to Plaistow and he taught at Timberlane Regional High School until 2008.
After the speeches yesterday, the crowd cheered as Martin's wife cut a yellow ribbon stretched across the track.
The family, school officials and track teams then took a ceremonial walk around the track, with a few people sprinting near the end. Sanborn hosted its first home meet of the season a few hours later.
"This is overwhelming," Pat Martin said after the ceremony. "I know he would have been absolutely thrilled, but embarrassed. It's great to see all the kids come out, and all the alumni and everyone who loved him."
The couple's son, Donald "Mac" Martin, came from Connecticut to attend the ceremony. He said his father would have been honored.
"This track is something he literally envisioned for decades," he said. "He really cared about giving to the community and the kids. ... He pretty much dedicated his life to education."
The new high school was built in 2006, years after Martin left the district. A scholarship is being established in his honor.
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