Remembering Arnold Clark

Arnold Clark is pictured in 2013 with his 30-Year DAC Coaches Award.

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

For alumni of Calais Elementary School, staff and basketball players, this week has been a week of loss with the passing of Arnold Clark, a great man, teacher and coach. During his 46 years as an educator with the Calais School System, Mr. Clark proved to be adept at finding ways to engage students and help them learn in different ways.

Mr. Clark made his classroom a fun place for students to learn and do it in a way that stuck. “He taught me history in a way that I could understand because I had zero interest in it,” former student Alecia McIver said.

There were funny ways that Mr. Clark made sure students paid attention in class without realizing that they were doing it. At one point, there was a running joke that Mr. Clark would clip his nails during class. He would start every year by telling his students that it wasn’t true and if they ever saw him doing it he would buy them their favorite candy. This joke may seem like nothing more than a silly rumor started by middle school students, but it got the students to pay a little extra attention to what was happening at the front of the classroom in hopes that they would have the chance to get their favorite candy.

Mr. Clark was much more than a teacher to students in both Calais and Woodland as he worked at both high schools as a basketball coach going back to 1984. On the court, Mr. Clark found ways to hone in on his athlete’s strengths to make them better players. Over the course of his coaching career, Mr. Clark helped to bring home eight Eastern Maine Basketball titles and six State Championships.

Having lived in Milltown most of his life, Mr. Clark took pride in his roots and could easily tell anyone almost anything they wanted to know about that area. He could tell you about the people that lived there and the properties in the area without it feeling like a history lesson and in a way that made that history come to life around you.

“He was just a wealth of local history. I’m going to miss him coming to my classroom to show me pictures of people I had only heard of,” fellow CES teacher Brenda Batson said.

With 46 years of teaching and 34 years of coaching under his belt, Mr. Clark left a lasting impression on just about everyone in which he came in contact. Whether he was teaching facts in the classroom, skills on the court, or just sharing his never-ending sense of humor, Mr. Clark was a huge part of Calais and the surrounding communities.

“There was no one I had more respect for in the school than Mr. Clark,” School Committee chair Bob Greenlaw said. “He really helped me when I first got on the school committee. He was also one of the best coaches in Maine High School sports, in my opinion.”

 

 

There are many words that could be used to describe Mr. Clark but those of Marian Wright Edelman seem most fitting. “Education is improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and the world better than you found it.”