Reusch Takes Home YMCA Award; Receives ‘Museum’ in His Honor

Augustine “Gus” Reusch, longtime teacher and now curator of Whittier Birthplace, inspects artifacts presented in his honor by YMCA Board President and Pentucket Lake School Principal Dianne Connolly. (WHAV News photograph.)

Reusch accepts the YMCA Community Service Award. (WHAV News photograph.)

Reusch accepts the YMCA Community Service Award. (WHAV News photograph.)

It was no surprise Augustine “Gus” Reusch would receive Haverhill YMCA’s community service award last night, but a humorous peak into the 50-year educator’s life brought out roars of laughter and applause from those gathered for the annual Educator of the Year event.

YMCA Board President and Pentucket Lake School Principal Dianne Connolly said she first met “Mr. Reusch” as a 12-year-old student.

“I met Mr. Reusch 42 years ago as he stood in the doorway of room 15 at Dr. Paul Nettle School.” She went on to save a social studies paper she wrote in his class, copies of a handwritten magazine Reusch wrote and distributed to students and other relics from her time as his student. When she became school principal, she received a congratulatory card from Reusch. In a handwritten note, her mentor jokingly suggested she save the card for the Museum of Fine Arts. Connolly decided last night the card and other relics should form the basis of Reusch’s own shrine.

“I thought you deserved better than the Museum of Fine Arts. So tonight, this card will in fact become an artifact in the Gus Reusch Museum of Lifelong Learning.” She noted Reusch’s career began in 1965 at St. Joseph’s School and continued through various stints at Haverhill public schools. Somehow, she added, his 2002 retirement launched an even busier day-to-day schedule.

“His volunteer work is Herculean. He volunteers at eight elderly housing facilities, three churches and two libraries. In his spare time, he is the curator of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace.”

Reusch, now 82, told some stories of his own. He said he is still prone to dressing up in a costume and made a surprise visit to Connolly’s school one St. Patrick’s Day dressed as a leprechaun.

“What I didn’t know was that the kindergarten classes had just finished the book called ‘How to Catch a Leprechaun,” he said.

Haverhill YMCA also presented its Business Community Award to Emmaus. YMCA board member Kara Kosmes explained YMCA partners with the homeless community support organization. “Their innovative programming and expansion on resources designed to meet the needs of those most at risk truly exemplifies their commitment.” The award was accepted by Emmaus Executive Director Jeanine Murphy.

YMCA Executive Director Tracy Fuller explained the Y’s work with educators and organizations helps it to fulfill its commitment to children.

“We work together to make sure they have a safe place to be, that they have activities to do like learning to swim, enjoying gymnastics.”