Retiring – Richard Berthiaume


Kai Hemingway, Editor

Richard Berthiaume is a math teacher at Bellows Free Academy and was employed on 27 October, 1986.

Berthiaume has not only been a teacher at BFA since 1986, but also has teaching experience in other Vermont highschools.

“This year completes my 34th year teaching at BFA.  Prior to that I taught 3 years at Milton High School. I began my first year teaching Physical Education and I have spent the past 36 years teaching mathematics,” Berthiaume said. 

Berthiaume easily recalls his favorite part of teaching, pulling from his years of experience.

“The favorite part of teaching for me is standing in front of a classroom of teenagers and getting to know them. Building a relationship where they enjoy coming into my classroom.  I love it when there are smiles and laughter in my classroom. I loved the interactions and the banter that can go on in my classroom,” Berthiaume said. 

Though Berthiaume’s favorite memory isn’t a singular one, they all come together in the end.

“My favorite memories are when my former students come back and visit, or I see them out in the community. I appreciate them taking the time out of their day to visit their old teacher. I am so proud of my students when I hear the great success stories. I have taught doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians, teachers, accountants, and the list goes on. When I hear about their stories it makes me feel good that I was a miniscule part of their life once upon a time.,” Berthiaume said.

Berthiaume pulls from years of experience with students as he discusses his biggest accomplishment.

“I have taught over three thousand students in my career. My biggest accomplishment is enjoying each day when I stepped in my classroom full of students. As department chair I am proud of the direction of the math department. We have built a staff that is caring, compassionate, and willing to do what is best for all kids,” Berthiaume said. 

Berthiaume has taught many different classes over the years and has a hard time picking just one as his favorite.

“I have enjoyed teaching a variety of classes throughout my career, but if I had to choose a favorite it would be Precalculus. I enjoy the curriculum and I enjoyed working with juniors and seniors who were driven to succeed,” Berthiaume said. 

While preparing for his future outside of teaching, Berthiaume thinks of his plans for retirement.

“I love to play golf with my friends, so from April through October I hope to be spending a great deal of time on the golf course. I am also the proud grandfather of two beautiful children.  Having an opportunity to spend more time with them will definitely be a highlight. I also plan on being active with sports at BFA. I plan on continuing to coach Softball and Volleyball, doing the clock for football games, and the books for basketball. I hope to travel especially in the cold months of Vermont to warm places with my beautiful wife Melanie,” Berthiaume said. 

Berthiaume strongly believes that he has done what he wanted to do before he retired.

“I became a teacher so that I could make a difference as a positive teacher who cared, I would like to believe that I have accomplished what I set out to do,” Berthiaume said. 

As Berthiaume leaves BFA, he thinks positively of his time there.

“BFA became a big part of my life. BFA was more than a job for me. My colleagues and my students became my other family. How many people can say that they enjoyed getting up and going to work at the same place for 34 years?” Berthiaume said.

Berthiaume also thinks of what he wants to leave behind for everyone at BFA.

“I hope that I leave behind positive memories for all the students that I have taught in my career. I hope they all knew that I cared,” Berthiaume said.

If you’d like to leave a personal message for Richard Berthiaume, send him an email at [email protected] or send a letter to BFA at 71 South Main Street, St.Albans City, in care of Richard Berthiaume