DeRutha Blue Riding (Miss Blue)

DeRutha Blue Riding (Miss Blue)

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

David McCarthy

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.

Carl Johnson

Carl Johnson

Carl Johnson graduated from Public School # 8. At Bennett he lettered all four years in football and track. In track Johnson ran both the 100 yard and 220 yard sprints. In football as an offensive and defensive halfback Johnson was second team All High his sophomore and junior years. During his junior and senior years Bennett won the Harvard Cup. In his senior year he was voted the outstanding player in Bennett’s “Turkey Day”win over Grover Cleveland.

After graduating from Bennett Johnson attended North Carolina Central University in Durham where he obtained both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in History.

At college he met his wife Peggy. They returned to Buffalo and raised three children, Carl II, Caryn, and Camille. Each of his children have been very successful professionally.

Johnson retired as the Executive Director of the St. Augustine’s Family Center. He and Peggy are the proud grandparents of Carl the third and Bryant. This weekend they are celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary.

Donald Dreyfuss

Donald Dreyfuss

Donnie Dreyfuss played all four years on the tennis team while at Bennett. He was All High at second doubles in 1954. In 1956, he was All High at third singles on arguably the greatest high school tennis team to have ever played in the Buffalo school system. Unbelievably, all seven members of the starting team were all High and undefeated; a feat never matched in the history of Buffalo High School tennis. Dreyfuss was famous for his booming cross court forehand and a fierce competitive spirit

He continued his outstanding play at the University of Kentucky where he played as high as third singles and second doubles, competing and doing extremely well in the strong Southeastern Conference.

Presently, Dreyfuss, a retired geriatlic physician, lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he has lived with his lovely wife, Elisa, for over 30 years. fts proud as Dreyfuss is of his tennis accomplishments, he is even prouder of his four children, three of whom played varsity tennis while in high school. Equally impressive, is that each of his children graduated from the University of Michigan.

Heather is living and teaching in new York City. Heath, a resident in Otolaryngology, is at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Hayley is a third year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine. Last, but certainly not least, his daughter Heidi plans to attend Columbia University Teachers College to get her Master’s Degree.

Nicholas J. Mogavero

Nicholas J. Mogavero

Nick Mogavero was born and raised on Buffalo’s West Side. He graduated from Grover Cleveland H.S., where he played football and baseball. Following the footsteps of his late father llluminato “Lemmy” Mogavero, a Physical Education major and graduale of Columbia U. in Manhattan, Nick enrolled in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation program at the University of Buffalo. While at UB he attained a BA and MA degree in Education in the H.P.E.R. program in 1 959. Mogavero then joined the Bennett H.S. Physical Education staff in 1960, where he taught and coached until December of 1970. In January of 1971 Mogavero became a Supervisor in the Physical Education Dept. at City Hall, and later Director of Health Education for the city schools.

During his 10 1 /2 years at Bennett, Nick coached football, basketball and baseball. Coach Mogavero’s football teams had a cumulative record of 48 wins, 1 8 losses and 3 ties. The highlight was the 1 968 “Harvard Cup” champion team. This team
arguably ranks among the best squads in city school history, recording 7 shutouts in 8 games that season.Coach Mogavero fondly recalls some of the many stars of that team, including Joe Alexander, David White, Owen Tober and Kenny Lidge. Mogavero’s teams were always representative and competitive. His basketball teams of 1 961 to 1964 all made it to the Board of Education Playoffs. His baseball teams from 1960 to 1970 were also very competitive. Coach Mogavero will always be remembered as an innovative, tough and fair coach. Mogavero said, “I never had to cut a player in football. I ran long, hard practices, and they cut themselves.” Mogavero always put the “kids” (athletes) welfare and interest above all else, always taking the “high road”. Many of his former athletes describe Coach Mogavero as a coach and a father.

Mogavero is retired and lives in Buffalo. He is the proud father of 5 wonderful children, three of whom are employed in the Buffalo school distrct (Lemmy, Nick Jr. and Mike).