Daniel Duvendack               Inducted 1992 - Teacher

Whenever there's a waft of sweet-smelling pipe tobacco in the air, any student of Daniel Duvendack is suddenly whisked back to Room 314. Many a sophomore felt a twinge of intimidation the first day of class, especially the accelerated course. That fear soon dissipated when the friendly, short, red-bearded man told jokes, stories, recited poems, and sang songs.

In fact, Mr. D. also pulled a few practical jokes in his classroom. One unfortunate student had the sorry luck of falling asleep during a biology lecture. Of course, Mr. D. let the pupil sleep through his class as well as into the following one. Rip Van Winkle awoke to find himself in a completely different class surrounded by unfamiliar classmates. Mr. D. wrote Rip a hall pass, sent him on his way, and taught him a lesson. Perhaps Mr. D. was reacting to the Leo Robie's pearls of wisdom, "Remember, they are still kids."


Mr. D.‘s association with the polar bears began as the son of WHS Social Studies Teacher, Frank

Duvendack. After serving as principal of several elementary schools, Frank returned to WHS as its principal and was inducted into the Polar Bear Hall of Fame in 1987.

During his junior high days, Dan became a fan of Woodward athletics. For the next two years, he watched every WHS football and basketball game with his Dad.

Dan attended DeVilbiss High School. After graduation, he earned a degree from the University of Toledo. In 1959, he began what was to be a 31 year career at WHS. He said he could finally "claim old Woodward High as mine!"

Throughout those years, his students and colleagues thought he was nuts arriving at school every morning at 6:00 a.m. These students rarely had the enjoyment of harassing a substitute teacher because Mr. D. only used five sick days in his 31 years at WHS. They never minded because his classes were fun and educational. Of his students, Mr. D. said, "I have thousands of memories from thousands of students. Most were not destined to become biologists. I always did hope they would remember some biology, but most importantly I hoped they would think more clearly, be more responsible, and remember that all things of real importance revolve around people."

Surely Mr. D.'s students took away some memories of Mendel's pea genetics but most remember Mr. D.'s humor and hard work. He implemented the Biological Science Curriculum Study Biology Course. (You laymen remember it as B.S.C.S. Biology.) This course brought the brightest kids together to balance scientific knowledge with creative investigation.

Perhaps Mr. D.'s greatest claim to fame was SAGA. He began as photographic advisor from 1959 to 1970 and became advisor the following year until 1984. As advisor, he created a situation where the SAGA staff could turnout a class production almost totally in house. Mr. D. said, "The SAGA was a team with the kids doing it. I was most proud to be able to say my staff produced this. I was just the advisor."

He was often the "butt" of the staff's jokes. During the designer jean craze in the 1980s, they turned a pair of Jordache jeans into "Lard Ash" denims for Groovy Duvie! All was forgiven by the SAGA Kielbasa Christmas Party an annual event for the honorary Pole.

Mr. D.'s favorite WHS memories include the Extravaganza, Togetherness Week, and class reunions. He was advisor for Classes 1961, 1972, and 1978. He was also on Woodward's Fiftieth Anniversary Committee, chaired the Science Department for 25 years, filmed all WHS football games from 1960 to 1984, and was a founding member of the Woodward Hall of Fame Association.

Mr. D. retired in 1990. Every Tuesday night the displaced Irishman plays tuba in the Polish American Concert Band. He also toots his horn for the Monroe County Community Symphonic Band, and the Avocation Brass Quintet. Since retirement, he became a certified Master Gardener from Michigan State University, bass fishes with his father, and brook trout fishes with former colleague, Ray Attie.

Mr. D.'s wife, Beth, teaches fourth grade at Custer Elementary School in Monroe, Michigan. They have two sons, George and Paul, and one daughter, Robin.

(The committee salutes Dan and his father, Frank, for being its first father-son inductee team.)

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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