A stiff breeze whipped the flags on the greens at the Woburn Country Club in late afternoon sunshine. Four foursomes assembled near the first tee after the younger members of the groups took some practice swings.
“Nobody said, ‘Bring hard hats,’” quipped one of the senior players.
So began a Kennedy Middle School tradition: the annual student-teacher golf tournament.
School Principal Carl Nelson played in the first foursome. When he came to Woburn, 12 years ago, he said he started faculty-student sports events. Now there are several: baseball and basketball, as well as golf.
Kennedy seventh-grade math teacher Dogan Gunduz has organized the golf tournament for about five years. It’s a fun extracurricular activity and builds camaraderie between middle schoolers and adults, he said.
After playing in the tournament, students will say “Hi” to us—teachers—at school, he said.
The tournament is limited to the first eight students—with priority given to eighth graders—who sign up and eight teachers.
Eighth grader Nick Caldwell played this year because he “likes to play,” though he only plays “maybe a couple of times a year.” He plays “kind of well,” he said.
Principal Nelson said he usually gets out to play once every two weeks. A self-described “weekend hacker,” he said he played “average, bogey golf.”
His teammate, Doug Lentz, a Kennedy sixth, seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher, led the team, Nelson said, with a low score of 38 for nine holes of play.
The students in their foursome—Dan Tanner and Joe Gratton—“were very good,” according to Nelson, “similar to past years.”
The student golfers: Nick Patti, Dan Tanner, Nick Caldwell, Joe Panetta, Jake Carbone, Thomas Connors, Tim Doherty and Joe Gratton.
The faculty golfers: Carl Nelson, principal; Doug Lentz, geography and geometry; Dogan Gunduz, 7th grade math; Matt Read, 8th grade math; Tim Dillon, 8th grade ELA; Tom Patuto, skills and math; Carol Downing, 7th grade history; and Ron Downing, "honorary teacher" and husband of school volunteer Carol Downing.
The teachers have yet to be defeated, according to Gunduz, although "One year was very close."
Take a look at some of last Wednesday’s driving and putting on the links by clicking on our videos and photos.