Poodle skirts, go-go boots, and tie dye shirts colored the Manual hall ways on this Tuesday morning. Cameras captured the many smiling students dressed as their favorite decades. We thought this was going to be another exciting day of Red/White Week. To top off the excitement, Mr. Kuhn made an announcement for all the teachers to meet in the auditorium for the first 5 minutes of class. Late start to school with no supervision? Yes! The teachers came back to class shortly after and Mr. Wooldridge’s voice came over the announcements.
Our hearts went stone cold and tears came to some of our classmates’ eyes. Could this be true? How could this have happened so quickly? We could have sworn Mr. Vaught was at YPAS just the other day. He was cheerful, energetic, and seemingly healthy. Mr. Wooldridge announced that Mr. Vaught had passed at 5:30 this morning. Words cannot express the amount of shock we felt at that moment. But our personal experiences with Mr. Vaught can help give everyone an idea of the man as we knew him.
Morgan Loy (12): I never had him as a teacher, but I’ll never forget the time I interviewed him for a spread in the yearbook. I had been trying to track him down for a week and finally, I found him walking into the YPAS Annex with a Drumstick ice cream bar and a bag of chips. When I introduced myself, he was so welcoming and seemed excited for the interview. I could not get over how kind he was to a student he had never met, especially one that was about to take up his free time. We walked to his office and I remember telling him it would only take a few minutes. I don’t know how time passed so quickly, but it had gone from being 1:00 to 2:15. After about 10 minutes, he asked me, “Do you mind if I eat this drumstick? I’ve been wanting one lately and would hate for it to melt.” His tone of voice and facial expression had me laughing. I told him I wasn’t a big-time famous reporter, so he could do whatever he wanted. He laughed and sat back in his chair with the chocolate walnut-sprinkled Drumstick. I had taken many notes about his acting success, but the best thing I got out of it was getting to know a great person. He made me feel very comfortable, like I had known him for years; a quality that many desire. Every one of his answers had both of us laughing. He got excited every time he talked about his family, the places he lived, and his students. His decision to be a teacher was based upon his relationship with his family because he knew that being a professional actor meant he wouldn’t be home enough. He also mentioned that he had already traveled to the places he wanted to travel and act the roles he wanted to. I was so grateful for the personal stories of struggle and accomplishment he shared with me, someone he had just met. When I didn’t think I could ask much more, he gave me his email and told me to ask him whatever I needed for the article. To this day, he is the best and most admirable subject I have ever covered, someone that had truly lived his life to the fullest.
Tian Chan (11): Freshman year was the year I was graced with the opportunity to have Clint Vaught as my teacher. I can confidently say that he has impacted and changed my life in a way all teachers should.
Mr. Vaught was one of the funniest people I had ever met – and I know a lot of funny people. Everything he said was filled with warm sarcasm that left you with no choice but to burst out laughing. I don’t think anyone who has ever met this man can deny the compassion they felt towards him. He’s just one of those lucky few people that greets everyone with their full personality – and leaves everyone feeling lucky to have met them. He always had stories to tell, either about his former acting career or his cherished family, and I feel like there was an underlying moral lesson to be learned from all of them. He was by no means a strict teacher, but because of his unique charisma he didn’t need to be – students loved and respected him with or without intense rules and reinforced regulations. I’m pretty sure he’s one of the only teachers to let his students watch a pirated video of Paranormal Activity or teach a full class with a purple blindfold over his eyes. One aspect he did thoroughly reinforce was that we shouldn’t use the word “um.” He hated that! With good reason, as high school students, we all are guilty of using it extremely too often. He was so quirky and had such an individualistic way of doing things. Because of him, I learned how to Own The Moment.
He was my Oral Communications teacher, and upon choosing this elective I didn’t know what to expect – by the first day I already could tell it would be a class that I wouldn’t forget. My friends and I walked in thinking we were so cool, of course, we were freshmen and sophomores on the first day of high school. He immediately asked us to write a speech about ourselves and to present it in front of the whole class shortly after. This was his way of seeing how good our speaking skills were and what weaknesses we all seemed to share. But some of the students, thinking they were just too good, talked and goofed off until Vaught eventually reprimanded them with a lot of attitude. Not only was he making us publicly humiliate ourselves in front of a class filled with upperclassmen and students we’d never met before, but now he’s yelling at us for trying to have some fun? The first class was shaky for most of the students, I think the general consensus was that Oral Communication and Debate was going to be very boring, very embarrassing, and that Vaught would be a very hard teacher.
Little did we know at the time, I’m pretty sure all of our experiences turned out to be the complete opposite. We all found our voices, we all shared so many treasured moments in that class, and we all found a friend in one of the most memorable teachers of all time. Because of him, I found a love and exhilaration for public speaking versus the body-shaking nerves I had previously endured. I found my voice and personality as an unsure incoming freshman. Not every day do you meet a teacher who teaches for just one reason – they truly love to teach. I got first-hand insight on how valuable a truly inspirational teacher can be and how fortunate I was to have gotten one. I learned to express emotions and present ideas in a professional and cohesive way, to always be confident and not let anyone else’s opinion affect the way I feel about something. Vaught taught me not to get rid of my butterflies, but to make them fly in formation – and I will remember him and every inspiration he’s left behind, forever.
Morgan and Tian: The normally happy and enthusiastic CMA lab was filled with the sound of crying and words of comfort. In every corner you could find a student with tears running down their face, accompanied by another student (or two or three) hugging them. The news of Mr. Vaught’s death hit every one of his students hard. Even students who had not known him were crying over the sadness of their friends. Mr. Vaught had clearly impacted many students and while no words could bring him back, the love shared among the students brought much comfort to the situation. Mr. Vaught made his mark as a great teacher, mentor, and all-around genuinely great person here at Manual. It makes us very happy that he will never experience pain again; however, we will truly miss this exceptional teacher who gave us so much. Thank you, Mr. Vaught.