The end of an era…part two
Every year we say good-bye to our seniors, those teachers retiring, those teachers moving on to other opportunities…but this year the number of teachers retiring and moving on is much larger than normal. When we recognized those retiring yesterday, what traditionally takes about 20 minutes, took over an hour. The number of years of service to students at EHS for those leaving this year is well over 250 years. As I think of those leaving, I am so happy for them in their retirement, but I can’t help but get a little nostalgic. Some of those leaving make up the very fabric of what EHS is to so many people.
For me, this group of teachers leaving consists of former teachers, my assistant principal as a student (not that I was ever sent to his office), former coaches, people I’ve served on committees with, people I’ve traveled with, some who have become people I turn to when I’m having a bad day, people who have so shaped certain programs at EHS that it’s hard to imagine what life will be like without them in the building next year. The lessons I will take away from them are ones I will cherish forever.
From Rick Carl – (although I never had him, EVERYONE knows Rick) I will take away the fact that students respond so well when you show them that you care, and aren’t afraid to get out there and embarrass yourself a little.
From Myrna Comstock (who I worked with in the Language Arts department before Tech stole me) – I will always remember that it’s okay to laugh at myself.
From Alvena Baxter (Culinary Basics queen) – I learned that eating healthy is something you can be passionate about – and the kids will respect you for it!
From Alan Keck (although I never had him, the art department at EHS is top notch because of his hard work and dedicaiton) – I’ve learned that helping students discover their passion is truly what matters most. His passion and compassion for students is something I truly admire.
From Glenda Priest (the kindest person I know) – I learned that letting your students know that you care about them is just as important as what you teach them.
From Connie Ferree (who was my chemistry teacher my junior year)…I learned the obvious (how to balance equations…which I still kind of like helping students do), but I also learned the importance of building a classroom community. I still remember having to take a test at the beginning of the year where we had to write (correctly) every other students name in the class. I always strive for students in my classes to get to know each other – and have a place where they feel like they are a part of something.
From Annie Wilson (another Language Arts buddy) – I learned that putting in hard work to help students succeed is one of the most important parts of teaching. I have always admired her dedication to her students and her love of the flint hills.
From Nancy Gilpin (my “Renaissance” co-sponsor) – I will never forget her smiling face in the hallway. She never misses a chance to say hi, ask how my day’s going, fight battles for me that I’m too “nice” to fight for myself…I will miss that next year.
From Steve Turner (my former principal as a student and activity director) I’ve learned how to think more like an administrator when it comes to certain situations. I’ve learned how enriching traveling can be and much more musical trivia than I knew before.
From Sherry Nelson (my teacher, my coach, my friend) – I learned so much. You have to love what you do, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, you need to always be working to better yourself, you need to be able to let your students (or players) have freedom to fly on their own after you’ve taught them what they need to know. I truly can’t imagine EHS without her there…
From Scott Sheldon (the guy who brought me back home) – I’ve learned how important FAMILY is – not just the family you were born into, but the family you create. Emporia High has such a great sense of community and that starts with the boss. I am forever thankful that he called me up when there was an opening and convinced me to apply. Even though the interview began with him calling me “Trouble”…it was a truly life-changing interview. It brought me home, allowed me the chance to work with my mom, gave me the opportunity to be in charge of a journalism program, and is something that I am truly grateful for.
High schools change and evolve each year. New students enter, seniors graduate…the constant, for many, is the teachers… Retirees, you will be missed more than you can know.