For most teachers, being in a classroom is more than a career - it’s a calling. They teach, they council and they mentor not for any other reason but to lend a guiding hand to their students. But once they retire and leave the classroom behind, who remembers them?
In the Farmington School District, retired teachers are not forgotten, and every year they are remembered and their careers celebrated in the Annual Retired Teacher Luncheon.
This year’s luncheon, held on Nov. 15 at the Black Knight Fieldhouse, was a gathering of educators with careers spanning more than five decades and is an event reuniting friends and colleagues for the afternoon.
“As a way to say 'thank you' for their many years of service to the students of the district, we hold a luncheon for faculty and staff each year prior to Thanksgiving,” said Superintendent Matt Ruble. “It’s great to see all of the retirees together again.”
Showing appreciation for the service the retirees provided was not only shown by a few administrators and board members, but the school’s present student body.
As former faculty and staff members arrived, they were welcomed by cadets from the school’s Air Force Junior ROTC program. In addition, the cadets proceeded to present the colors while the Choraliers sang the "Star Spangled Banner."
According to Ruble, joining the cadets and the Choraliers were members of the school’s FCCLA who handled set-up and served the retirees a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
For the retirees, the event gives them a chance to catch up with old friends and former coworkers and reminisce about their time in the classroom and the students they shared.
“This is my sixth year of retirement, and I have attended all but one,” said former Director of Bands Kurt Bauche. “There are several retirees that I see often. But even in this small town, I don’t encounter some of these folks except for this dinner. There isn’t time to catch up with everyone; however, it is enjoyable to see everyone.”
For others retired teachers, such as Linda Huck, the luncheon allows retirees to see former co-workers and gives teachers a chance to reconnect with their mentors as well.
“A lot of people I saw were pretty influential in my early career, as far as giving me encouragement and support,” said Linda Huck, who followed Bauche as director of bands. “To be able to see them once again is always enjoyable.”
For many of the retirees, the fun of running into each other once again was not only about remembering the good old days, but it was also the chance to do a little bragging on their families. But more importantly, retirees have an opportunity to show pictures of their grandchildren.
“It seems with the advent of the smart phone, everyone is ready to show off grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Bauche said. “But what was even more fun is seeing folks posting pictures on social media of their time at the dinner.”
For many of the teachers and staff members at the luncheon, their entire career was spent working only for the Farmington School District.
Dan Stott, a retired math teacher, and Ron Jack, a retired science and drivers education instructor, are just two in a long list of teachers who were hired and retired from the district.
“Ron and I came for just one year and then stayed for our whole career,” Stott said. “This is a good place to come and raise a family.”