Faculty Tribute: Champ Atlee

Chris Bai ’25 in Features | May 26, 2024

          Mr. Atlee is a living legend. For over six decades, Atlee’s presence has graced our school, leaving an indelible mark as the Head Baseball Coach, Woodhull Head of House, and a beloved English teacher. A mentor to generations of successful Lawrentians, he has influenced Lawrenceville in ways words can’t describe, and it has truly been an honor to count myself as one of his last mentees.

          When you see Mr. Atlee perched in the hallway of the Woods Memorial Hall in  between classes, you certainly won’t assume he will grow into your favorite teacher at Lawrenceville, an impression that isn’t changed after your first class with him as you will get cold-called immediately. You’ll think to yourself: “This class is going to be a long one.” Soon, you will begin to realize that he is one of the greatest mentors you’ll ever have.

          Suffice it to say, Mr. Atlee is certainly one of the smartest men I've ever met. His depth of wisdom extends far beyond the realms of English literature: he has endless baseball intelligence. If you’re  an amateur baseball fan, you won’t be after you talk to him, not to mention the fact  that he possesses a never-ending inventory of quotes,  anecdotes, and life lessons.

          One particular moment stands out vividly in my memory: during a class discussion on the Nixon- Kennedy debate, Mr. Atlee  casually recounted an anecdote of saving John F. Kennedy’s child from a near accident in front of the White House. He chuckled, said “Fair enough,” and then moved on, while the class was left in complete shock.

          Mr. Atlee, you have left an unerasable influence on me. W hile your tutelage has certainly improved my writing skills, your stories, wisdom, and unwavering guidance will resonate within me long after my time here. In his own humble words, Mr. Atlee remarked, “To be a teacher is to embrace a life of modesty.” Well, Mr. Atlee, on behalf of Lawrenceville, we thank you for making that oath. As you embark on the next chapter of your journey, know that your influence will continue to ripple through the lives of those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with you. Thank you for over 50 years of dedication, inspiration, and wisdom that you have brought  to this campus. Mr. Atlee, I wish you nothing but the absolute best and a restful, well-deserved retirement.