If These Halls Could Talk: Larry Bellamy

If+These+Halls+Could+Talk%3A+Larry+Bellamy

Graphic by Mark Schaefer

Matthew DiFonzo, Sports Editor

In between classes, students are racing across hallways, dodging each other in a maze of faces, surrounded by laughter and quick conversations. Among these rushing students is the calm reassurance of Larry Bellamy, an RHS building service worker for the last 20 years.

Bellamy has helped maintain a safe and clean environment for learning, but his contagious smile and positive spirit have become a major part of students’ daily routines at RHS. Some know him as a building service member who walks around the courtyard and cafeteria providing a trash can for students to throw their lunch away. Others know him as the friendly staff member who cheers at sporting events and converses with students. Although many interact with Bellamy on a daily basis, many students and staff are unaware of his background and the impact he has on students.

“Larry is the man,” senior Anthony Bailey said. “He comes to most of my [basketball] games to watch us and gives us motivation to succeed.”

Bellamy is a familiar face on the sidelines at games, cheering enthusiastically with the rest of the crowd, always with a smile on his face. He brings this same energy to the hallways every day as he always takes the time to stop and check in with students.

“I do not know Bellamy personally, but he always says hi and asks how I’m doing. It’s nice to see the staff members really caring about students,¨ junior Anna Stewart said.

Bellamy graduated from Winston Churchill HS in Montgomery County in 1975, where he was a star football player. He was heavily recruited and decided to take his talents to the University of Notre Dame (UND) on a football scholarship. However, at the time, his grades weren’t ideal. UND decided to withhold the scholarship from him. He then took his talents locally to Montgomery College and played football there for a year in the hopes of improving his grades to re-apply to UND.

His hard work paid off and he was once again accepted and cleared to play for Notre Dame football. A few weeks before leaving for South Bend, Ind., he was in a serious car accident. Bellamy was paralyzed from his neck down and his football career was over. Since then, Bellamy has regained his mobility and shows little evidence of that tragic accident many years ago.

While he could have never imagined that the tragedy he experienced would lead him to where he is today, he tries to prepare kids for the uncertainty that most certainly lies ahead for them, he said. By navigating and overcoming difficult challenges and obstacles he feels he is in a unique position to provide perspective and to inspire students at RHS.

“I try to remind kids that when they graduate, the first thing they should do is thank their parents because your parents have done a lot to get you to that point in your life,” Bellamy said. ”After you graduate from high school, it is on you to be responsible for yourself. You always have to have a plan A. But you also have to have a plan B just in case plan A falters.”

While every year the hallways fill up with the same sounds made by different students, all of them will pass by a familiar smile and get some sage advice from a man who is more than just a building worker. He is a true Ram and member of the RHS community.