By: Erin Lowenadler
On Feb. 3 the Bethel community suffered from a sudden, heartbreaking loss. Mr. Albert Bibeau, a teacher at BHS for 46 years, passed away suddenly, leaving the town, his colleagues and thousands of students who experienced his unique and memorable personality, saddened.
Mr. Bibeau was a natural educator. He taught numerous history courses at BHS, Western Connecticut State University and Naugatuck Community College.
His passion for teaching made him an instant favorite among his students.
“I only knew Mr. Bibeau for a short time, but in that short time it was clear that he was a born educator,” said Mr. Christopher Collison.
“He was always positive and friendly with everyone from students to teachers and always made me feel welcome in our corner of the hallway,” added Mrs. Katherine Stevens.
His kind heart and warm smile made everyone feel loved and appreciated and all students and staff members looked up to him in so many ways.
One of those ways is that Bibeau, having taught since 1975, told the best stories and was always a primary source to rely on.
Students of Bethel High specifically remember him talking about his 9/11 experience, war stories, and of course, how he shook the hand (that shook the hand that shook the hand…) of JFK.
Bibeau made it a priority to educate his peers with his first-hand experiences and that is something Bethel High School students, staff and alumni will always respect.
“Without fail, every time I was teaching students about the music of the Vietnam War Era, Mr. Bibeau would magically appear at my door to share his memories of the various songs and how the time period had affected him on a personal level,” said Collison.
Mr. Bibeau shared stories and anecdotes with his students and even those who were not enrolled in his classes, just because he loved to inspire others.
While Bibeau’s intelligence was astonishing, students and teachers remember his wacky remarks about technology and how he regularly required technical support. When given directions his colleagues would always write down meticulous, numbered steps. If anyone tried to show him an easier way to do something, he would insist, “No, no. I have my list right here.”
Bibeau would often ask his students to help him send emails for extra credit and post on his Google Classroom stream to be rewarded with a snack from the cafeteria.
Bibeau relied on his students but little did he know they all relied on him.
And of course, Mr. Bibeau is known for his legendary jokes that carried on throughout decades.
He had an abundance of puns up his sleeve, which has been coined as “Bibeauisms.”
Because the Bethel Community knew Mr. Bibeau as the caring and goofy man he always made himself out to be, “Bibeausims” are often quoted by many.
Every day, Bibeau walked through the front doors with a gleaming smile on his face. His goal was to inspire and make future generations appreciate the little things in life (like corny jokes). BHS alumni and current students all conclude that Bibeau has left a legacy for the community to remember forever.
To honor Mr. Bibeau and all that he has done in the past 46 years for Bethel High School, we have to remember what he always insisted us to do: “Never stop trying to improve yourself, everyone can do a little bit better.”
To Mr. Bibeau, our friend, supporter, colleague, mentor, and teacher: you will be extremely missed and Bethel High School can not thank you enough for all that you have done.
“I will answer the phone using a color, “‘Yellow?’”
When drawing on the board: “Remember, my name is Al, not Art.”
“I am like a farmer, OUT standing in my field.”
At the start of class: “As they say in the produce department, lettuce begin.”
A fan favorite from the early 2000s was when he would drop his keys and ask: “What do I call that?” “I call them my Alicia Keys because they keep…. Fallin.’”
“I’m a happily married man!”
He shook the hand that shook the hand that shook the hand that shook the hand of JFK.
“Who turned on my boom box?!”