“One woman in Massachusetts sent us money orders for the payment of the tuition and they were all most helpful, but I wasn’t going to accept the jewels she offered me. ” He was mentally lazy and physically timid. You couldn’t get him to do anything on the athletic field. When he was ready to go to college he had a good mind and I had great confidence in the boy. He wanted to study marine architecture and at the time I knew of only two institutions in this country that had good courses in that field. They were MIT and University of Michigan. I talked it over with his mother and father, he came from a fairly well to do family. I said I wouldn’t send his credentials to either place until he completed two years at VMI. I admit it was a little cruel because at that time VMI had a nationwide reputation for having the worst hazing among all the colleges in the country. I thought the boy needed something like that.
One of the chief sources of success at this school was the deep interest that the individual instructors had in the individual boys. We emphasized that in our catalogue and in our letters to families. There were rare exception, though. There was an instructor who had a fine personality. He had a fine educational background. He was a good teacher, but still the boys hated him. If he gave a boy one demerit the boys would throw a fit. Mr. Halsted would give them five or 10 and they would take it with a smile. I just couldn’t understand it. We had an awfully good student council at the time and I talked it over with the chairman of the student council. I said, “Bob, why is it that you boys get so angry at Mr. X?” “We ... Mr. Teel, we just don’t like that guy.” “Well, tell me why. He’s a good teacher isn’t he?” “Yes.” “He knows his stuff doesn’t he?” “Yes.” “But why don’t you like him?” “Well, we’ve talked about it among ourselves and we think that the guy is not interested in us at all. He is only interested in himself.”
October 1929 I got my first inclination that something was wrong when the vicepresident of the Penn. Railroad came into my office at five o’clock in the afternoon and handed me $500.00 in cash and said this may come in handy. He wheeled and went out of the door like a shot. The next morning the banks were all closed. That $500 came in mighty handy to pay some of the help around here. Some of the banks continued
to cash treasury checks sent by the parents of navy and army juniors here, and that helped out. The bank in Annapolis let us draw enough money to let us meet our payrole for the low paid employees around the place. One woman in Massachusetts sent us money orders for the payment of the tuition and they were all most helpful, but I wasn’t going to accept the jewels she offered me. That would have been all wrong. We got by, we got by. It was a ticklish time, I’ll assure you, but we weathered it. We had grand cooperation from the parents, good cooperation from one bank in Annapolis. We got by.
Evening Capital Monday, May 23, 1955 Mr. Teel sees some differences in boys today as compared with those at the time he opened the School: “They’re not so willing to do things for themselves. They want too much given to them,” he stated. The retiring headmaster feels that the automobile is the chief thing in the breakdown of discipline, believing that with the automobile goes a freedom in which the boys are out all hours and become disturbed psychologically. “They’re not ready for serious school study,” he observed. On the other hand, Teel feels the boys have broader interests and broader opportunities than they did 40 years ago.
You have worked well, you have played well, you have shown a fine sense of obligation and honor. These are the qualities that bring advancement, health and happiness, and real friends, all of which are essential in building up a successful and happy life. It is our earnest hope that the years at Severn have brought the firm conviction that one cannot get something for nothing; that what is worth having is worth working for; that freedom to be maintained must be cherished and its price paid; that things of lasting value carry a high price tag; and that material rewards are not the only ones worth striving for. While we are sorry to see you go, we are happy in your success and that you are on your way to greater efforts and greater responsibilities. We have enjoyed the privilege of knowing you and of working with you; we shall follow your future with deep interest, and shall look forward to seeing you.”