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Blast #10: The Corner of Belmont Avenue and Memory Lane: Messrs. Kerin and Wynn

Aiken High School
Class of 1971




Dear Classmate,

Some people have fun, fond memories of high school years; others feel just the opposite. No matter on which side of that fence you stand, it’s likely one or more teacher at Aiken Senior High made a lasting impression on you, either saying something profound, leading you to a learning breakthrough, or just by example.

As we get closer to our 50th Anniversary Reunion on Nov. 6, a new feature on the aiken71.com website brings back memories of the faculty who made a difference.

History and Social Studies were subjects that shaped our world views and taught us how to think. At the corner of Belmont Avenue and Memory Lane, think what a contrast two of the teachers who shared those lessons were from each other: Dick Kerin and Harry Wynn.

Mr. Kerin often taught wearing an earnest expression, like a football coach trying to shut down the other team’s drive, appropriate since that and wrestling coach were his side jobs at Aiken. Mr. Wynn, on the other hand, led class with a welcoming demeanor, often breaking into a warm smile. He was a coach, too, but instead of sports, the team Mr. Wynn led represented us on the TV show “It’s Academic.”

Despite the contrast in their personalities, both men seemed to have the same goal: that we learn to think for ourselves.

If a student questioned a historical detail or assumption that Mr. Kerin shared, he’d defend his assertion pointing to one of his desk drawers and saying, “I’ve got an article here somewhere from U.S. News and World Report that says …”  Must have been a big stash of magazines there, because he often resorted to that line of defense, no matter the topic.

He came to his convictions earnestly. Shot at Iwo Jima, Mr. Kerin earned two Purple Hearts and a Silver Medal home in the Pacific Theater during World War II but while he told us of his service, he never bragged about his heroics. When he died just two years ago at 94, Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty wrote a long, moving tribute to him.

Mr. Wynn projected as much authority as Mr. Kerin, but in a gentler package. He saw a world that needed to be better, but also appreciated signs of progress. He often shared encouraging messages from the comic strip Wee Pals and it was he who ensured his students were aware of a then-new news show called “60 Minutes.” When you had your hand up, only to find someone else already shared the thought you wanted to express, Mr. Wynn gave you that gentle smile and said, “Great minds travel the same path,” a phrase that sticks with some of us a half century later.

Like Mr. Kerin, Mr. Wynn distinguished himself with military service. He flew with the Air Force during the Korean War, and as a reserve, he was part of an aircrew designated to support the Bay of Pigs invasion, had President Kennedy followed through on that mission.

He left us too soon, struck by a fatal heart attack on Aiken’s campus in October 1972, a little more than a year after we graduated. Mr. Wynn’s obituary in the Cincinnati Enquirer detailed many manifestations of community service, including his role on the Mayor’s Economic Task Force.

The new Our Teachers, Then and Now feature at aiken71.com brings you snapshots from the lives of most of the faculty we met in high school, including Mr. Wynn and Mr. Kerin, and allows you to pay tribute to them, too. Visit there now to see some of your favorite teachers; in the off chance we’re missing some of yours, you can request we add them.

You’re also welcome to share ANY Aiken memories you have, serious or light hearted, at aiken71.com. If you have not done so yet, we encourage you to set up your classmate profile there so that classmates can connect with you, even if you cannot attend our 50th Anniversary Reunion.

Just think of all the memories we can relive when we gather Nov. 6, 7-11 p.m., at Centennial Barn in suburban Cincinnati. Hope to see you there.


Your 50th Reunion Committee

Saul Aguiar
Lisé Bohannon
Keith Brown
Sue Stenten Gilman
Sylvia Hill
Kermit Kinne
William “Bill” Kirkwood
Geoff Mayfield
Kristeen Estep McKenzie
Charlotte Weiser Pamplin
Mary Ann Wesseler Perkins
Christopher Press
Linda Palumbo Ratterman
Laura Howard Scudder