From student to teacher to coach to memory maker, Sue Moss’ role has transformed over the years at Whitman-Hanson, but her love for the Panthers has not. Now, she is being rewarded for her lifelong dedication to the school.
Moss has been selected by the Massachusetts Secondary School Athletic Directors Association as this year’s District C Joao Rodrigues Distinguished Service Award recipient. She has appeared at thousands of Panthers athletic events with camera in hand, snapping countless photos, where they soon appear on her Flickr, which fittingly features the panther statue as her profile picture, before they are used on the Whitman-Hanson athletic site and the Whitman-Hanson Express. Moss, who also takes pictures for the yearbook, said she’s the type of person who likes to fly under the radar.
“I just want to make things happen,” Moss said. “I’m very flattered and I’m very honored.”
The award will be presented to Moss March 30 by the MSSADA at their annual awards dinner held at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis.
The Joao Rodrigues Distinguished Service Award is assigned to one nonpaid individual chosen from 61 nominees put forth by the District C schools based on their continued involvement with high school activities at the local level.
Whitman-Hanson athletic director Bob Rodgers put Moss’ name forward and she was selected as the Patriot League representative in June before being tabbed as the district winner.
“This award not only recognized people who devote their time and energy to their communities, but I feel the best candidates are the people who inspire others to want to give back,” Rodgers said. “I think every student who has come in contact with Sue realizes how community service is something we should all aspire to make part of our lives.”
Moss’ time in Whitman dates to her childhood as she worked her way through the public school system. She said it was in her backend years as a student at Whitman-Hanson when she began to ascertain the true power behind giving back to her town.
“My loyalty is always there,” Moss said. “I believe in paying it forward. There were a lot of good people when I was in high school who did a lot of good things for us that they didn’t have to. But back when I was a student, there wasn’t anyone around capturing all the games so that you’d have a souvenir as you graduated from high school and went onto the rest of your life.”
Moss jumped into teaching at Whitman-Hanson in 1971 and spent 35 years as a physical education and then technology educator.
While there, she played an integral role in the athletics of the school. Moss helped to create the first girls’ cross country team and first girls’ outdoor track team in the early ’70s.
“Back in those days, Kevin Black and I used to take slides,” Moss said. “When we put a banquet on at the end of the season, we’d have those pictures to share with the parents and everybody else. I had a habit at the end of the year, after the banquet, I would pull out all the senior slides and I would give them to them.”
None of Moss’ images have ever been for purchase and that’s something on which she prides herself.
“All my images are up there in cyberspace, as the saying goes,” Moss said. “They can go get them anytime they want. The parents can go find the ones that they want so it’s good and they don’t have to pay for them. You shouldn’t have to pay for all that stuff. None are mine are for sale, even for the visiting team that might get an occasional shot. I just tell them where to find them and they can download them for free.”
Moss, who retired in ’06, said she has always and will continue to strive for the perfect image that can last a lifetime.
“I keep looking for that ‘wow’ photo,” Moss said. “Every once in a while, you get one, not every year, but you get one. It’s the joy that the kids take seeing themselves captured, whether I shoot a funny one or I shoot one where they don’t know that I’m shooting, which I try to do a lot. Those are the ones that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.