Fred Underhill to be inducted to Old Colony Wall of Achievement
ROCHESTER — He was there for its founding, and now he’ll be a fixture on the school’s Wall of Achievement immemorial.
Rochester’s own Fred Underhill will be inducted to the Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Wall of Achievement on Nov. 5.
Underhill was part of the founding of the school as part of its building committee, and went on to serve a total of 20 total years on the school committee.
“I’m very honored. This is a super thing for me,” he said.
Underhill will be one of three members of the second class of inductees to the Wall of Achievement. His contemporaries are Kristin Lee and Marcus Ashley.
“It’s one of the highest honors we can bestow upon the members of our community,” Old Colony Superintendent-Director Aaron Polansky said.
A long list of nominees was whittled down by a committee brought together by the school, and Underhill was a clear choice.
“Without Fred I don’t know if there would be an Old Colony,” Polansky said.
In the ‘60s, Underhill said, it was fairly easy to get a Rochester student into New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. But as time went on, more and more students became interested in such an education. And eventually, there were no spots left for Rochester or other Tri-Town students.
“We felt there was a need to have vocational education for our students,” he said. “I think that’s kind of where the whole thing started.”
Now, Underhill said he’s proud of the school’s ability to stay up-to-date with technology and teaching methods, and that vocational education remains essential.
“There certainly are children who need to have this option,” he said. “Having a strictly academic education can be frustrating for a child.”
Likewise, Old Colony is proud to have Underhill in its community.
“I can’t imagine Old Colony without Fred,” Polansky said. “He’s just a big piece of who we are, really.”