An MRI revealed three tumors in his brain, which doctors said was indicative of brain cancer. The doctors were able to perform a biopsy on one of the tumors. Vaught underwent radiation therapy on his brain tissue, a much less serious treatment than the chemotherapy the doctors had expected. Vaught returned to school on September 25 and taught off and on.
He had suffered several other health issues over the years, but always returned to school without a mention of what he was facing. According to Mr. Dennis Robinson (Counseling, YPAS), right after his stroke a few years ago, Vaught volunteered to drive the YPAS band on a trip. Last week, Vaught was informed he was bleeding internally, but he told no one at Manual and came to school anyway. By the time he took a trip to the doctor, he had lost two pints of blood.
Mr. Vaught taught Oral Communications and Debate at Manual for over 31 years and led the Young Actors’ Institute summer program he founded for 24 years. Over those years he developed unique, close relationships with students and staff alike, and built a reputation that preceded him. “When I run into Manual graduates, people ask about him more than any other teacher.” Mr. Greg Kuhn (Assistant Principal) said. “He was probably the most well-thought-of teacher we have on our staff.”
Throughout the campus, Vaught’s passing instantly halted the flurry of Red/White Week. Just minutes after meeting in the cafeterias before school to joke about each other’s Decades Day togas and tye dyes, students in every classroom could be found with ashen faces or holding their heads in their hands. Tissues littered the hallways of the Communications/Media Arts (CMA) annex, which became a haven for students grieving for Mr. Vaught.
“I grew up with him. He helped raise me in some ways… If there were ever a time when you needed help or advice or a hug, he was there,” Jordan Kuhn (10) said.
But students’ emotions weren’t entirely one-sided. “I’m sad to hear that Mr. Vaught died, but I laugh about every memory I have of him. It makes everything bittersweet. Everyone’s crying and laughing at the same time,” Allison Traylor (11) said.
A memorial service for Mr. Vaught will be held Thursday October 20. The reception and visitation will happen in the YPAS main lobby starting at 5:30 PM. A celebration of Mr. Vaught’s life will follow at 7pm in the YPAS main auditorium. The reception and celebration are open to the public.
With additional writing/reporting from Patrick Haertel and Charley Nold.
Zoe Schaver is a copy editor for Manual RedEye and a Student Life section editor for the Crimson Yearbook. She is also a member of Manual’s debate team, Gay/Straight Alliance, and Young Democrats club.