English 7

Robert Hadfield

Percy Bahr was a brother of two, a father of three, and a grandfather of seven. But the person that he had the most profound impact on1 was not a member or part of2 his family. That person is Robert Hadfield, one of Bahr’s first students.

While Bahr taught high school social studies for Whitehaven Academy, his3 courses were rather unlike most at the prestigious private school. Bahr did teach the state-mandated curriculum, but he preferred to have his students spend the majority of their time with him working on outside projects in order to promote4 education through true fulfillment. He believed that, for students to learn, they needed to be invested in their work. Bahr allowed students to select their own projects at the start of the semester, with the goal of presenting their findings5 at the end of the school year.

Many of the students were delighted at the chance to pick their own projects.6 Robert Hadfield, however, was far more ambitious. Hadfield wanted to turn the local landfill in Whitehaven into a recycling transfer station. The local politicians felt that allowing Hadfields plan7 to go through was good for the environment, but financially unfeasible. Upon learning this, Hadfield went to Bahr, requesting an opportunity to change projects due to insufficient funds. Bahr’s reaction to the reasons Hadfield gave has been8 one of complete and utter stoicism. If you need funds for your project, Bahr told Hadfield, then go find funds.

Bahr’s instructions to solicit donations and finish9 the project may have been quite simple, but they drastically changed the work ethic in his student. Hadfield wrote letters, made phone calls, and even went door to door in the town with an ardor10 that had been previously missing. Hadfield explained the many needs of the town for11 anyone who might be willing to aid his mission.

Instead,12 Hadfield now works for the United States government, promoting recycling on the national level. A powerful and persuasive lobbyist:13 he even says publicly that he owes his successful career to the teacher who convinced him, years ago, went14 the extra mile. [15]