Academics / Community

Mr. Fadden: Inspired and Inspiring

Sitting in the Science Lab after school one Wednesday evening, I became increasingly aware that Gary Fadden is not the person who lives a life of regret or doubt. Growing up, Mr. Fadden never thought that he would be a teacher, nor a scientist –  yet the stars seemed to have aligned for him.

Mr. Fadden’s childhood provided him a basis for much of his achievements. To this day, he credits his parents as his mentors, before any professor or teacher that he has tried to emulate. Even after living in Hopedale for 37 years and being married for 38, Mr. Fadden calls his mother every night and makes weekly visits to see her. As he begins to talk about the close relationship that he has with his family, you can see the genuine care that he holds.

In high school, Mr. Fadden felt unmotivated to learn and apply himself to his studies. In an email to me, Mr. Fadden wrote, “ I was not a strong high school student, but I was at an all-male school (Keith Academy in Lowell, Mass) that was very demanding. And just like Dana does for our students, Keith Academy truly prepared me far better than I realized, and made college such a positive experience for me.” It wasn’t until college that he truly felt he found purpose in what he was doing: “College was a fabulous time in my life,” he says, “and I can’t imagine it not being a fabulous time in everybody’s life. If college isn’t good for you, you’re at the wrong college.” During class, Mr. Fadden often repeats this message, telling his students how fun college will be. Almost every day, we are told that college will be the best time of our lives, and I leave his room even more excited and motivated. To him, college was a time of growth and diversity, yet most importantly, he discovered more about himself than he had ever thought possible: “It was actually the challenge of these courses that really inspired and drove me, and resulted in my being elected to an honor society in college (never in high school!) which is why I’m now a faculty member of Cum Laude at Dana.” Going into college, Mr. Fadden was planning on becoming a history major, yet he refused to take a foreign language, and therefore decided on being a science major. Yet, there is not a moment that he regrets this choice:  “I’ve actually felt truly blessed because I have a lot of friends that I’ve grown up with that have jobs that they liked but didn’t really like, or jobs that they truly didn’t like at all, but needed the job because they needed to provide for a family or whatever, but I’ve blessed in the fact that I’ve always enjoyed my work, which has been wonderful.”  When I asked if he had any favorite memories or stories from his time at college, he said, “I have a lot of them, but I probably can’t really tell you any.”

Mr. Fadden, though he wouldn’t tell me stories about his college experience, fills his classroom every day with such entertainment. In class, Mr. Fadden told us a story of a weekend, about 15 years ago, that he spent with his college friends fishing. He had an amazing weekend and on the last day, he happened upon a dead cat outside of their cabin. He picked up the white and black spotted cat and put it in his buddy’s truck. As his friend was driving home, the heat caused the once-frozen solid cat to begin to smell, and when he got home he checked to see what it could be. Around the time that he knew his friend would be getting home and checking, Mr. Fadden texted him and said if he had seen his cat that he had brought up with him this weekend, that he couldn’t find it. His friend found the cat and panicked, yet later on, they both had a laugh. As Mr. Fadden was telling this story, the whole class was laughing, having the best time. For me, Mr. Fadden has provided a fun escape from stress, while inspiring me to have a love for chemistry and science to a degree that I have never had before.

The appreciation that I have for Mr. Fadden is shared throughout the community. Charlotte Sullivan, a member of Mr. Fadden’s Mathematical Chemistry class said, “Mr. Fadden always tells us funny anecdotes from his life, that add humor and makes me more involved in his class.”

Thank you Mr. Fadden for your support and kindness!

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