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Jim Scaringe so excelled as a three-sport athlete that in his senior year at Tappan Zee High School he was captain of the football, wrestling and baseball teams.

As a senior during the 1972 football season, Jim was so dominant that he was honored as the New York All-State second-team defensive end. That came on top of being honored as First Team All-Rockland County defensive end.

If you think Jim was coasting along on the other side of the line of scrimmage, that was hardly the case as he took All-Rockland County 1972 honorable mention at offensive tight end.

A season earlier, as a junior, Jim was second-team All-Rockland defensive end. Obviously, he didn’t rest on his laurels.

Jim was also a tough opponent on the wrestling mat, taking second place in the 1973 Section 9 wrestling championships.

In the spring of his senior year, Jim had a superlative season on the baseball diamond. He earned first-team honors on the 1973 All-Rockland County baseball team and topped that with being chosen as the first baseman on the New York Daily News First-Team Tri-State baseball team.

On the whole, Jim’s senior year won him recognition as Tappan Zee High School’s Athlete of the Year for 1973.

Jim’s athletic career continued after graduation.

Testing the Collegiate Gridiron

Jim went on to West Virginia University where he played football as a “walk-on” for legendary head coach Bobby Bowden, who had already helped West Virginia neighbor Marshall University in rebuilding its football program after a tragic 1970 plane crash and would go on to turn Florida State into a decades-long power.

“After ‘spring ball,’ I was offered a full athletic scholarship but decided not to sign,” Jim says. “Instead, I transferred to Nassau Community College and played football there for two years and graduated with an associate degree in December 1976.”

He finished his undergraduate studies at East Stroudsburg State College in Pennsylvania. He played one season of football there and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in the spring of 1978.

A Career in Social Work

The same passion and drive for excellence exhibited during his high school athletic exploits carried over to Jim’s career choices.

After graduation, Jim worked for two years at New York Hospital’s psychiatric division, where he was employed as a mental health worker on its adolescent unit. “My experience at the hospital convinced me,” Jim reflects, “that I had found my calling in working with kids with emotional and behavioral issues.”

To progress professionally, Jim decided to go back to graduate school. He was accepted into an advanced placement program at the University of Alabama School of Social Work, earning a master’s degree in the spring of 1980.

While at Alabama, Jim recalls, “I was able to have my competitive needs met (while at the same time meeting quite a few ‘characters of interest’) by playing inside center on the university rugby club. I even got to meet Coach Bear Bryant,” one of the few coaches who could earn billing over Bobby Bowden.

Jim returned to upstate New York for a job as the school social worker at a private residential school for developmentally and emotionally challenged children.

“While living in the middle of nowhere had its charm,” Jim says, he wanted to return to a more urban setting and jumped at an opportunity to stay with friends in Boston.

He decided to look for work in the Boston area and, he says, ”the rest is history.”

Jim quotes Joe Walsh: “Life’s been good to me so far.”

He’s been living and working in the Boston area for the past 41 years. “I worked for 33 years for the Boston Public Schools at a school for emotionally and behaviorally challenged students – the kids who were kicked out of all the other public-school programs,” he says. “While there, my career path arced full circle. I started out as a social worker/guidance advisor; I then became an assistant principal; then (believe it or not) the principal of the school for eight years before returning to the social work job I loved best.” In 2007, Jim was selected as one of the City of Boston’s “Educators of the Year.” He retired from Boston Public Schools in 2015.