Three years and three months after graduating from high school, DeRutha Blue was ready for teaching. The 1 969 school year had already started when DeRutha arrived in Buffalo, NY After a three-week assignment at School 51 and School 66, she was asked to assume a position in the Physical Education department at Bennett High School. Bennett’s student population at the time was 2,400; the ideal spot for a teacher to make a difference in the lives of students. DeRutha immediately became involved with after school activities of the students, starting intramural sports and a riding club. Varsity sports did not exist for girls at the time, but a strong intramural program was established and a fight for equal use of the facilities was on!
The next challenge was to establish a varsity sports program for girls. DeRutha’s students were leaders in the fight. The determination of the girls was inspirational to many and resulted in the inception of girl’s varsity sports in 1975. DeRutha credits the unwavering determination and relentless pursuit of the goal by her students, as her inspiration for her 35-year career in education.
Varsity volleyball was the first all-girls sport in the Buffalo Public Schools in 1975. Bennett’s team, under Coach Riding, was ready. The Tigers finished in second place during that inaugural season. In the succeeding years, the Bennett volleyball team won multiple championships and established themselves as the dominant team in city volleyball. DeRutha also coached basketball and softball in addition to volleyball at Bennett. She concluded her career with an additional nineteen years as a teacher and coach at Grover Cleveland High School before retiring in 2004.
DeRutha still resides in Buffalo and continues to be a mentor to all of her former students.
David McCarthy was a four year varsity swimmer while at Bennett.The Tigers captured the “Syracuse Cup”, awarded to the city schools swim champions, all four years of David’s tenure at Bennett. In David’s spar1<.ling swim career, he captured a total of 1 0 All-High medals and two city records. Starting in his his freshman year, McCarthy was All-High in the 1 00 yard backstroke, which turned out to be his “specialty”. McCarthy achieved 3 All-Highs, one in each of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. The events included the 1 00 yard backstroke, 200 yard freestyle, and 400 yard free relay. The city swim records occurred in the 1 00 yard backstroke and 400 yard free relay.
McCarthy attended E.C.C. after Bennett. He is now married and a hospital wor1<.er in the state of Virginia. David is the third of the McCarthy siblings to be inducted into the Bennett Sports Hall Of Fame.