Gradelink
Amelia Academy

One Special Man: Walter Duncan

by Jean Tremaine

photo
Scores of children in Richmond and Amelia have benefitted academically when they entered third grade, fourth grade or the gifted & talented program to find that they were assigned to Walter Duncan’s classroom.

Mr. Duncan is a fixture at Amelia Academy where he’s been teaching third grade for the past dozen years or so and leading the enrichment program. His kindness and genuine caring for the children he teaches and his enthusiasm for quality education that encompasses more than just book-learning is exceptional.

He tells a lot of stories, which his students remember long after they graduate from third grade. And the children learn to stand up in class when they want to speak and add to conversations, which naturally builds confidence and poise that they carry forward into Upper School classes.

His classroom is like no other ̶ a magical place where great-granny might serve high tea or balloons & mardi-gras beads might fall from the ceiling. Children smile and light up the minute they walk through the door to his classroom and so does he.

His background is as unique as his classroom. He studied foreign languages at University of Richmond (French & Spanish) and ended up pursuing a degree in elementary education at VCU. He’s worked professionally as an interior designer and he’s run his own store. Teaching, however, is his calling.

“How important education is! Not only in a child’s life, but in our nation’s life. We can’t move forward without education,” he says in his typically enthusiastic style.

Mr. Duncan loves Amelia and the community here. It makes him “just feel good” to park his car & walk across the street to go to the Post Office. He loves that the cars all stop and people wave̶no honking horns or impatience.

He served as Amelia’s 2016 Christmas Father̶an honor he will never forget. He is a strong Christian and celebrates Christmas all year long with Christ at the center of his life. He proudly proclaims: “My redeemer liveth forever.”

He fits in well at Amelia Academy where faith and prayer are encouraged. He loves working there and looks forward to every new school year. He likens AA to an old fashioned school…providing the kind of family atmosphere & involvement one might have found years ago.

“Everyone has their part and everyone does their part. It is a wonderful environment. I have never once asked a parent or teacher to do something and been turned down,” he says.

Children and adults stop him in the streets and often ask: “Do you remember teaching me?” And yes, he always does remember. He is one special man and he is an intrinsic part of the fabric of Amelia Academy and Amelia County.