Bill Goralski ’52, M.A. ’55
Bill lived and worked in the Farmington Valley his entire life. He attended Canton High School for three years, leaving in 1946 to live and study at Trinity School in New York City on a scholarship for two years. While at Trinity College, he was a three-sport star athlete, competing for the school in football, basketball, and baseball. He earned the 1935 Award in Football, the Coach’s Foul Shooting Trophy in basketball, and as a junior, he batted .400 for the Bantams. However, his athletic accomplishments were cut short in 1951 when Bill suffered a life-altering spinal injury during a Thanksgiving Day football game at Tufts University. He spent 103 days recovering in hospitals in two different states. Bill did not give up. With a smile on his face, he persevered and remained a student at Trinity, receiving his B.A. in history in 1952. He was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and was awarded the George Sheldon McCook Trophy in 1953, which is given to a senior who exhibits diligence, conscientiousness, courtesy, self-control, and honor at all times, especially in athletic sports and contests.
He continued and received his M.A. from Trinity in 1955. Bill then returned to Farmington Valley and taught history at Simsbury High School for 30 years, sharing his expertise and wisdom with his students. He was recognized with the Elliot P. Dodge Education Award for outstanding teaching. Bill has published several books about his life, travels, and adventures including Growing Up in Old Avon Center and My Last Run — Back to Avon, detailing the ordeal of his injury and rehabilitation. He earned Avon’s Citizen of the Year Award in 2009 for his unwavering dedication to his community.
Bill also remained dedicated to his alma mater, serving on the 1952 Class Executive Board since 1997. He received the 150th Anniversary Award in 1973 and the Alumni Medal for Excellence in 2002 for “achievements during his life, and for his distinguished teaching career of 30 years in public education.” In his honor, the Class of 1952 established the William J. Goralski ’52 Scholarship Fund to support the dreams of future student athletes. He received the Class Secretary Award in 2007. Bill served on the Reunion Class Committee and Gift Committee for his 60th Reunion.
Through all of his life’s challenges, Bill remained optimistic, always looking toward the future, and smiling. He passed away in the winter of 2014.