This week we received the very sad news that Kenyatta Hasan ’90 passed away on December 14 in his sleep unexpectedly at his home in Harker Heights, Texas. Kenyatta came to us in the proud tradition of generations of Hyde kids who have come to us from The Boys’ Club of New York. His career in the military led him to serve our country at a number of posts both abroad — including Iraq — and in the United States. This week, I wrote the following on his Facebook page:
I was headmaster at Hyde when Kenyatta attended. I felt like my heart stopped when I heard the news of his passing. My heart is still pretty heavy right now. During my 35+ years of teaching, I’ve encountered my share of kids who have made me wonder, “What am I doing this for?!?” Kenyatta was one of those who made me say, “Oh yeah… THAT’s why I’m doing this.”
I remember him as a guy who met his obligations in a respectful manner and didn’t make a big deal about it. I guess you could say that he under-promised and over-delivered. And that can be a rare quality in a world of people who sometimes live in a state of over-hype.
Similarly, he was also a rare mix of tough and soft. On the one hand, his football coach (Gary Kent) called him “The Assassin” for his hard-nosed play on the field. On the other, he was as kind and gentle a guy as you could meet off the field.
He also had a great sense of humor. I remember his “quote of the day” at our daily morning meeting once: “The road to Rome is paved by Gregory.” (Sorry for the inside joke.) He also not only used to razz me over the new Ford Taurus I once bought that I was so proud of, he managed to work a joke about it into a performing arts show we did that year.
Kenyatta makes me proud to say, “Yeah, he was one of mine.” And anyone who has ever been a headmaster would agree, that’s as good as it gets. With thoughts and prayers to Kenyatta’s family, friends, and loved ones.
Onward, My Friend, Malcolm Gauld