The Leonard Legacy

Amy Patterson, Reporter

“Bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo

Tutti frutti, au- rutti…”

In the same year “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard topped the chart, Scott Leonard was born. He was born unremarkable, as all people are, with ten fingers, ten toes, a pink bundle with no possession, but endless potential. Some men neglect this potential. They discard it, leaving it unclaimed in the deserts of our broken human dreams.

Other men, however, collect the castoff potential of others and add it to their own. It is into this latter category, Scott Leonard falls.

For twenty-five years, it was at Woodland Park High School that Leonard shared his promise. This gift was unique to our institution, as Leonard never worked anywhere else. Woodland Park was his first and last stop on the educational circuit.

“I considered getting out of teaching altogether after a particularly bitter year,” Leonard admitted in a lilting voice, “but, no. I’ve always loved this place and I didn’t want to go any place else.”

After parting from his full-time career, Leonard leaves advice for young teachers. “I think every teacher has to find him or herself as a teacher to find the most effective way to reach kids. My philosophy was always that students don’t realize they’re being educated if they’re having fun. I worked very hard to have a fun atmosphere in my room. I spent years thinking I’d be a professional entertainer, so I tried to bring that to the classroom. The one thing that every student wants in what they’re being taught is relevance. If it’s not relevant, you don’t care. One of the keys to my success as a teacher is that every time I started teaching something, I stopped to say why it was valuable.”

After retiring from WPHS, Leonard poured himself into his writing career. “It (writing) started with being a reader. From the time I have any memory, I was reading. I guess I started really loving the idea of writing when I fell in love and started writing poems to my girlfriend. They were pretty dreadful. And then from there I just spent a lot of time with the typewriter. I’d write little stories and it just took off from there,” Leonard divulged.

Currently, Leonard is working on a lengthy novel comprised of eleven short stories, totaling over 170,000 words in partial completion. “I’ve never written anything this long before,” the esteemed educator explained exuberantly, “If I complete it, it will be my first book.”

“The novel takes place around a dream I had. I found myself in this cave with these strange little creatures and the only way that you could get out of the cave was to tell your story, and there were about a dozen people in there with me. I was panicked because I didn’t have one. That’s why I need eleven stories. It’s kind of a mixture of realism and fantasy.”

Mr. Scott Leonard left a legacy at WPHS. Eccentric and eclectic, he serves as a reminder of what all men can be – if only they relish their potential.