Interview by Clara Go
Marion Freeman is a former teacher at Clayton High School and was responsible for building management in the School District of Clayton. He moved to Clayton in September 1958, in order to take on the job as drafting teacher. During the school hours, he was a teacher, but after school, he coached cross country, basketball and track.
When Mr.Freeman was in high school, he participated in three sports, which included football. Even though he didn’t run cross country, his passion and dedication to the team as a coach allowed it to grow and improve. After high school, he received masters degree at University of Colorado and became a teacher at CHS with 7 years of teaching under his belt.
One thing that was made Clayton High school unique was the auditorium. For other schoolshe worked at, the gym floor was the stage, but CHS had its own auditorium. He also found the campus beautiful. The first class he taught was composed of rising seniors, who came to CHS when they were sophomores. This class was meaningful in the way that it was the first class to graduate from CHS.
As a cross country coach, one story he remembers is about a boy who immigrated to United States with almost no knowledge of English. Their conversations were comprised of body language, but he survived high school. This student was running for the team at Hancock Invitational. When he came down the chute to the finish line, another student behind him took the number that he was supposed to receive. As a result, the team ended up losing only by one point. After having served in the Vietnam War, this student now works for the immigration services and lives in Texas with three kids. He still has some broken English to this day.
After his career as a teacher, he then worked for the School District of Clayton as a building manager. During his time at the school district, he has managed several major projects such as the new Wydown Middle School building and the library for Clayton High School. Another major duty that he had was checking the classrooms for asbestos. Because it is hazardous, the teachers could not teach in classrooms that had asbestos.
After having lived in Clayton for more than 50 years and with a granddaughter who went to CHS, he notices some similarities and changes around the area. There was Attucks Elementary School that was for black students, but permanently closed after the integration. There were notable changes in CHS such as installment of air conditioning and the school bus system. However, the school still emphasizes on helping the students and academic achievement. Mr. Freeman believes that Clayton holds the best opportunities for the students, and even though every day is hard, it is also good.
Mr.Freeman left his legacy at Clayton by having a track award named after him. Even thoughhe is retired, every year, he helps out at the track meet.