Ted Szelagowski Inducted 1990 - Class of 1938
As the high school boy walked through the Polish neighborhood to Woodward, little did he know he would be honored as one of its finest alumni. Two things come to mind when Ted Szelagowski's name is mentioned - education and athletics.
As a Woodward athlete, Ted lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track. In fact, he held the school record for 25 years in the 100 yard dash. He was also undefeated throughout the city in this competition as well as the 220 yard dash. In 1938, he qualified for the state track meet.
After Ted graduated from Woodward in 1938, he attended Toledo University. He graduated from college in 1942 after lettering for three years in football. He also received All-Ohio recognition. Ted gave up professional offers from the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Rams. Instead, while a captain in the United States Air Force from 1942 to1946, he played one year in the Air Force Football League.
Ted returned home to Woodward to begin his 31 years of service as an educator for the Toledo School System. He began his career at Woodward in 1946 as a teacher and a coach. After nine years, he decided to influence the younger set as a teacher at Point Place Junior High School. In 1959, he began a 16-year stretch of administrative duty as the principal of Washington School. He transferred to Chase School until 1962. The following four years, he was the principal at Warren School. After serving one year at Robinson Junior High, Ted returned to his alma mater again.
As principal from 1968 to 1975, Ted often faced some turbulent times. The halls of Woodward were filled with tension because of racial unrest. As a result, Togetherness Week was instituted by the faculty, administration and students. This Mardi Gras-like atmosphere brought the students and faculty together in a variety of competitions and activities. Woodward's halls were also filled with folks dressed in amusing costumes. Each day was tagged with a theme like the Roaring Twenties or the Fabulous Fifties. Banding together, Woodwardites even raised over $1,000 in school-wide bake sales. Another activity that occurred during Ted's reign was a battle of the sexes. Ted, alias Bobby Riggs, challenged the girl's basketball coach, Sue Sweet, to an one-on one. As he was ushered in like royalty on the boys' shoulders, most thought he did not stand a chance against the women's libber. Officiate of Woodward Trivia, Mr. Dan Duvendack, said Ted beat the pantyhose off of her.
Ted's tenure was not all fun and games. He, along with the boosters and faculty members, spearheaded the planning and construction of the stadium. Ted was also instrumental in starting adult education classes in the mid-1960s for the central city. In 1966, he was named the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Educator. After attending the Outward Bound Program in 1969, he okayed this activity at Woodward. Six years later, Ted left Woodward to become the Director of High School Scheduling for the Toledo Board of Education until he retired in 1977.
He has been married to Helen for over forty years. Ted's retirement activities include vacationing in Florida and fishing. He has two surviving children, Gerald and Lynette and six grandchildren.
Ted would like to highlight the influence of his coaches - Homer Hanham, Art Smith and Leo Robie. "They were instrumental in guiding me to goals beyond high school," Ted said.