Leading the Way with Rick Swanson

Rick Swanson is best known around town for being the principal of Hingham High School but to the students, he is so much more than that.  If you ask them (which, of course we did) he is a mentor, a cheerleader, a friend and a leader who has dedicated his life to their success. The opposite of "Saved By the Bell's" Mr. Belding (80s and 90s kids will know what we are talking about), Mr. Swanson is cool, approachable and fun. But, more importantly, he does everything he can to ensure that every student reaches their full potential.

Hingham, meet Rick. (ahem...Mr.  Swanson)


What do you love most about your position as principal of Hingham High school?

Hingham High School is a vibrant, positive and spirit-filled place. I love walking through the front door every morning and being able to engage with many wonderful people (students and staff alike) all day long. The work of a high school principal is challenging but it’s also energizing, and it’s never, ever dull!

What is your favorite thing about Hingham?

As a former history teacher, I love being able to live and work in a community that values its history and continues to honor its best traditions.

What is most special about this year's senior class?

The members of the HHS Class of 2020 (all 306 of them) have already made a positive mark on our school.  They each possess unique talents and personalities, but together they also represent a genuine community. The compassion they show for one another fills me with hope that they will go on to make our world a better place, just as they have already made our school a better place.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

The chance to make a positive difference in the lives of students.

What's your favorite local spot?

Denly Gardens in East Weymouth. For as long as I can remember, it has felt like a home away from home.

What's one thing on your bucket list?

One day I hope to return to Tennoji High School in Osaka, Japan, with our baseball team and other HHS students. Our 2015 trip remains a highlight of my career.

Favorite vacation spot?

North Conway, New Hampshire. The mountains are calling, and I must go...

Do you have a hidden talent?

I don’t want to brag, but you could ask the school secretaries about my homemade bread-and-butter pickles. Every summer, once my backyard garden has delivered its annual bumper crop of cucumbers, I get right to work, and I love sharing the fruits of that labor.

What's one thing people may not know about you?

I was born on the Fourth of July.

If you had a different career, what would it be?

I’d like to serve as Alex Cora’s bench coach and spend the off-season playing guitar in a Nashville honky-tonk.

When presented with two choices, when did you make a decision that changed the course of your life?

I really didn’t feel like going to a Halloween party on a Saturday night in late October of 2001.  But it’s a good thing I showed up, since I met my wife there. I don’t even want to think about how things might be different today if I had stayed home that night!

If you could give the kids of Hingham one piece of advice, what would it be?

Robert Kennedy, one of my heroes, said it better than I could: “You can use your enormous privilege and opportunity to seek purely private pleasure and gain. But history will judge you, and, as the years pass, you will ultimately judge yourself, on the extent to which you have used your gifts to enrich the lives of others.” RFK made those remarks to an audience of college students in 1966.  Today, more than fifty years later, those words are more relevant (and more urgent) than ever before.

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