Retiring With a Legacy

As beloved teachers leave the school behind, they look to a more open future

Nolan Haberstroh

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Chemistry teacher Mr. Scott Thorpe teaches his class about elements and their bonds with each other. Thorpe, who won teacher of the year in 2011, is known for his passionate and engaging teaching style. He plans to retire at the end of this year.

As senior Andrew Johnson makes his way through his final year of high school, he often thinks back to his junior year. His English III class, taught by  Mrs. Patricia Shockley, had been one of his favorite classes, and a place where he knew he could relax a bit in a difficult schedule. When Mrs. Shockley announced her retirement after over 20 years at FHC, it was a hard truth to accept for Johnson, who finds himself missing the welcoming atmosphere Shockley’s class created.

“She honestly just helped me and my friends get through the year,” Johnson said. “Junior year is considered one of the hardest years of your high school career, and having her class at the end of the day made every day better than it normally is. There were all sorts of personalities in that class, and she managed to bring all those personalities together, despite their differences.”

A close friend of Johnson’s, senior Brady Bounds was also a student of Shockley’s in his Junior year. Bounds really enjoyed Shockley’s style of teaching, and wishes he had more classes like it.

“Her class was pretty casual.” Bounds said. “We were treated like adults in that room. It wasn’t super structured, but all the information got to us in an easy to digest way.”

Even though Shockley’s retirement was a surprise to Bounds, he understands her decision. After her departure, Bounds feels that she left behind a great legacy.

“I’ve never talked to anyone that didn’t like Mrs. Shockley, which is a rare case for teachers.” Bounds said. “Most of the time, people are indifferent at best, but everyone I’ve ever talked to about Mrs. Shockley has loved her, she’s remembered as a good teacher.”

Retirement isn’t an easy decision, and many teachers struggle with it. Mrs. Kathy Maupin teaches special education social studies classes, and feels aspects of her retirement might be difficult. At the same time, she feels that this is the beginning of a new part of her life. For Maupin, her post-retirement plans aren’t exactly set in stone. While she has some idea of how she’ll spend her time, it’s the lack of a schedule to follow that is exciting to her.

“I have a couple of side businesses that I already ran, so I’ll continue to do that, as well as travel and spend time with my family.” Maupin said. “I’m [most looking forward to] flexibility in my schedule, not having to be on a set schedule and not having to get up so early.”

While retiring and leaving the school behind may lead to some difficult goodbyes, for Maupin, when the opportunity arises, it’s best to take it.

“It’ll be difficult to leave the people,” Maupin said, “but I’m ready for the next chapter.”