Tuesday, May 24, 2016

50 Years of Benton Community -- Miss RoseMary Meyer Impact

“Absolutely a hoot!”  

That’s how Miss RoseMary Meyer described her time as an employee at Newhall High School and later Benton Community High School. 

Miss Meyer began her teaching career in the fall of 1955 and taught business courses for a total of thirty-nine years.  Her largest senior class was 141 and smallest was 99.  For those of us who had the pleasure of being taught by Miss Meyer, that’s a whole ‘lotta “homerow people”.  I am one of many great typist she helped develop due to her dedication and tenacity for helping students learn “correctly”. 

1975 Yearbook photo

Miss Meyer grew up in Clarence, Iowa, and when she graduated from Coe in the spring of 1955.  She interviewed for two different jobs; Grundy Center and Newhall.   Both were farming communities and Miss Meyer chose to work in Newhall because “everything seemed very comfortable and like home.” 

Miss Meyer had the chance in 1958 to study in California with her former advising professor from Coe.   She did this for her first two summers of teaching.  In 1959 her advising professor wanted her to interview in Palo Alto, CA.   She went and interviewed and told me, “I just didn’t feel comfortable with the place.  The next summer my dad passed away and if I had taken that job, I would have missed that year with my dad and helping my mom with everything.   The years just crept along and I had many friends here and it just worked out.”   
Miss Meyer did spend a few summers in Colorado earning her M.A. in business education.  She commented, “Those summers in Colorado and California were so much fun.  I got to learn from a work study program in the insurance industry.  The work study program was designed for me to find out the types of skills a high school graduate needed for those types of jobs.” 

This summer Miss Meyer will attend a 60th class reunion for the Newhall School.  In a recent phone conversation, Miss Meyer shared she loves these events.  She thoroughly enjoys being able to see how students turned out after high school. 
Miss Meyer commented, “The thing that is really neat is to see the late bloomers.  It’s great to see someone come back who you thought years earlier ‘how will they ever survive?’ and they’ve now found their nitch and they turn out so super.  That’s absolutely a hoot!  For so many of students, I only saw them for three years when we were in the Van Horne High School.   And then there were so many after that when we moved into the MS/HS building.  I was fortunate that I had contact with all of them their senior year.  I was senior sponsor and helped with graduation for 28 years.”

Miss Meyer shared with me, “Graduation was held on Thursday evening when we started at Benton Community – just like Newhall.  School Baccalaureate was on Sunday and the following Thursday graduation would happen.  Local ministers were on a rotation by denomination and town, in alphabetical order, to lead Baccalaureate.  There was no band at Baccalaureate, only an organ.  Reuben “Denny” Denbo would go to Atkins and pick-up Deanne Krug Becker’s organ.   Evelyn Wiebke and Linda Podahasky played the organ for Baccalaureate.

Baccalaureate, during those times was a board approved event and when classes would tell Miss Meyer they did not want to hold Baccalaureate, she would share with them,  “We will have it unless you can go to board and present why not to have it.  This is board policy.”  One year the class got themselves organized, went to ministers and the board and Baccalaureate was no more.   Miss Meyer shared, “Then we moved graduation to Sunday, which caused quite uproar!  But that is what ended up happening.” 

Two Benton Community graduations were held outside and Miss Meyer would like to know which years these were.   Miss Meyer commented there was a lot of stress with having graduations outside.  Miss Meyer remembers it was so cold and had been raining that first year graduation was held outside.  She told me, "Almost everyone wore overcoats and chairs sunk in to the football field.  The next year graduation was a beautiful and calm night and the band people didn’t even need to use clothespins on their music.  The following year graduation was planned for outside, but it got moved inside due to pouring down rain."  Miss Meyer told me this was not a problem due to students already having Baccalaureate inside on the Sunday before.  The following year, on the morning of graduation, it was raining again and Mr. Merchant called Miss Meyer and told her, “We are having graduation at Newhall today and from now on.”  

After that the only time graduation was moved to Keystone was when a storm came through and ripped off part of the roof at Newhall.  This was also the same year that the robes for graduation didn’t arrive until the Friday before graduation.  Miss Meyer was really concerned and as she put it, "I was in a bit of a tizzy", but was assured when the robes arrived other people would help fix this dilemma. 
1981 Yearbook photo

When I asked Miss Meyer if she had a time in her teaching career that really sticks out, she commented, “There are many of them.  One time was when we had two new seniors move to BC (a brother and sister).  I was sharing with them the process for graduation and another senior said to them, ‘Do what she says, you can trust her!’  That meant a lot to me.”  She also commented, “I remember a graduation picture with someone and Jim took a picture of us and put it in the paper.  Things like that were the most fun.  It was just a hoot!”  

Myself and Miss Meyer taken by Jim Magdefrau

She also commented on what fun it was to teach with former students.  Andy Becker and Don Gibney were two of Miss Meyer’s former students.  She says “That was a hoot!”  She also fondly remembers all the family members she had.  

Judy Boddicker Garber’s, a former BC Elementary teacher and student of Miss Meyer from Newhall, fit this definition.  RoseMary commented, “I had all of her siblings and they all told Joe (the youngest sibling), ‘We had to take her class and you need to as well!’  He did, but I don’t think he liked it very much!  I also taught all of Judy’s own children!  That is scary to think about when I taught children of former students.  

I didn’t get to the third generation – but I was close.  They were in the building, but I never actually taught 3rd generation students.  I have been invited to a wedding of two former students (Kelly Becker and Daron Buch), who each of their four parents (Deanne & Andy Becker and Cathy & Jim Buch) I also taught.  I made sure I got a picture of that!”

Miss Meyer shared with me how helpful people at BC were.  “We had so much fun when we were together!”  Examples she shared ranged from wrestling tournaments, track meets, football games, dressing up for Halloween, coaching cross country,  FFA trips, band trips, FHA trips, sponsoring NHS and Prom.  “Everybody worked so hard to make sure events went off without a hitch.  We all just pitched in and had a ball doing it.”  When I asked her about coaching cross country, she laughed A LOT!  “I had to stay until 4:00 and I thought I may as well be helping.  I asked Wayne if he would like to have me go along to meets since he was coaching both the boys and girls.  The high point of my coaching was when Wayne gave me my own whistle!”   And she still has it.

1980 Yearbook photo

I was inducted into NHS in the summer before the start of my senior year and I remember how much time and energy Miss Meyer put into our induction process and banquet.   I am not sure people who don’t work in education understand the amount of time sponsors of activities spend on their children.  I so appreciate all of those sponsors and coaches who gave of their time for those of us who so greatly benefited from participating in these activities.   Thank you from the bottom of my heart.    

My letter from Aug. 1981
Miss Meyer also shared, it wasn’t just staff that came together, but the community as well.  “We had a prom fund-raiser dinner before a girls’ basketball game vs. Montezuma.  There was a snow storm  the night before the game and school got cancelled, but it was decided to play the ball game anyway.  The mother’s decided they had the food prepared, they might as well host the fund-raiser.  They arrived at the school at 3:30 and by 5:00 they were ready to serve the Swiss steak dinner with dessert.  One mother even had be transported down her lane in the loader-bucket of a tractor to get her pies to the dinner.  “Absolutely a hoot!” 

Miss Meyer also spoke of the times that were incredibly difficult, such as a death of a student.   She remembers how quiet the halls were after a tragic accident where two of our students were killed.  She never objected to the noise in the hall from that point on.  
As I think about how Miss Meyer has impacted my life there are a few things in me which might be a direct reflection of her investment in me:
  • We both agree that being committed and persistent are much nicer adjectives than being called stubborn.
  • We both move from one place to another very quickly.
  • We are both very organized and love to have fun with the people we work with.
  • I don’t twist my hands and say “people” the way she can, but every time I see a ‘toad’ I think of her.     

1981 Yearbook photo
Miss Meyer ended our conversation with, “I had so much fun teaching – thank you for listening to me.  I liked the people I taught with and I respected them and still do.”  I responded, “This is pure joy listening to you!”  To that Miss Meyer laughed hysterically and I thought to myself this conversation has been “Absolutely a hoot!” 

1980 Yearbook Photo

P.S.  As I was reviewing this story with Miss Meyer, I commented to her on how I think we look alike in the photo Mags took of the two of us.  She said she always thought that same thing.   Thanks Miss Meyer for your impact on me and Benton Community. 

50 Years of Benton -- Bridgewater Impact

I've been sharing stories of people who have impacted me in my time as a student and employee at Benton Community on this blog.

Today, I'm proud to share a video put together by my niece, Kim Fisher, and her Kindergarten classroom on the "Mary Bridgewater Impact".  Mary is my mother and Kim's grandmother.

My parents are both amazing people.  My mom loved school and learning.  My dad loved basketball and I don't think would of cared much for school without it.  Together they strongly encouraged all ten of us to be and do the best we could and to use our talents to help others.

Enjoy the video as much as I've enjoyed being part of the Bridgewater and Bobcat Families!

Front row:  Mary, Carol ('98), Eldon
2nd row:  Jim ('85), Barb ('79), Cathy ('80), Jo ('82)
3rd row:  Brad ('90), Tom ('91), Jeff ('75), Rod ('87), Ronn ('77)

Summer Reading Options & Resources

Read. Read. Read.

This was a comment one of my elementary teachers put on our year end report card.  She stressed the importance of reading all summer long.  

I  used this "comment" as a way to convince my mom to let me stay overnight with my friend Ursula.  Ursula and I always had a trip to the library and stopping at my Grandma's house to get some chocolate chip cookies in our adventures when I stayed at her house!   We both loved to read and my G'ma's cookies!

Ursula & me Aug 1, 1974

Our GWAEA Digital Learning Team has shared some resources for summer reading for students.

These are great options for sharing with students for their own "read, read read"filled summers!  Thanks @DLGWAEA 

Monday, May 23, 2016

50 Years of Impact -- Mr. Bell

Mr. Bell's doesn't live in Benton County anymore - so I emailed him to see if we could get together virtually to share part of his story.  In true fashion, as a former English teacher, he felt most comfortable writing responses to my questions and then sending them in an email. The questions I asked of him are black and bold.  His responses are in black and mine are in blue.

Why did kids listen to you?   What do you feel your best lesson(s) to students was?  My evaluations from the several principals that I had at BC and four other educational institutions said that I had good classroom management skills. I never quite knew what that meant. I think it meant that I ran the show and the students knew it. That’s the way my generation was taught, so that is the way that I taught.
My best academic lessons to students were teaching them how to write concisely with supporting evidence or examples and to document their sources. My best life’s lessons were to work hard, to be on time, and do not run your mouth at me because it will not work – maybe at home, but not here.

My listening to Marv started in 7th grade.  He was our coach for Junior High Softball.  He knew the game and we knew he knew the game.  He wrapped a wet towel on his head when it was really hot out.  He taught me to how bunt and slide. I remember those drills and encouragement to “get it down” or “get down”. 

I rode my bike two miles to catch the bus for games and practices during these summers.  This didn’t happen every day, but with 9 kids in the house, if we wanted to get somewhere – we sometimes had to make arrangements on our own.  Mom didn’t have enough space on the family calendar to keep track of all our activities!

While I had Marv as a coach, my mom and I had a collision in the kitchen with hot gravy and coffee.  As a result of the collision, both of those hot liquids ended up on my right forearm.  Marv cleaned and wrapped my arm that softball season so I could play ball without the risk of infection. I don’t think most people would describe Marv as tenderhearted, but he was very careful with my arm.  I had him wrap and clean it because he was not quite as “rough” as my mom was.   

I also had Marv as a Composition teacher as a senior.  During this time, I was dating his oldest and only son.  That made for some interesting class time for me, not sure if the same is true for MarvJ

What is your best memory of your time at BC?  My best memory of BC is my students, the teaching staff, and the administration, all combined as one memory. BC was a great place for me to teach for 39 of my 47 years in teaching, and also for Sherry and me to raise our family.

One of my best memories of Mr. Bell’s as a student in his class was Mr. Bell being at the back door of his portable classroom and having a discussion with Mr. Logan as he hung out his 2nd story classroom window.  In my mind this happened quite frequently and was always entertaining, especially after Mr. Bell shut the door and made a few more comments Mr. Logan could not hearJ  
Mr. Bell 1981 Yearbook photo

What do you feel most proud of in life? I am most proud of my wife, Sherry, who made everything go so smoothly at home for our three children and me. Professionally, I am most proud of having been a teacher for 47 years.

Sherry is another shining example of the spouse who kept the family in-tact while their significant other gave so much to other people’s children.  I remember Sherry as a child-care provider to so many families and then as a food-service worker in our MS/HS kitchen.  I never remember seeing her without a smile on her face or a look of understanding in her eyes.  I have very fond memories of seeing her with other teachers and their spouses and families.   I truly believe they enjoyed each other’s company.  Many times one didn’t know which child belonged to which parent – you couldn’t tell because they were together often as families.  They helped raise each other’s children and developed some incredible adults and friendships.  I was and am fortunate to continue to be friends with many of their children. 

Marv & Sherry Bell with 1957 glove

What teacher in school made the most impact on you and why? This a tie between two teachers, the late Mrs. Opal Eckert and Mr. Larry Brennan. Mrs. Eckert was my composition and journalism teacher. She was demanding. She died a few years ago at age 100. She remains a legend in my home town to this day. She was selected as the outstanding high school journalism teacher in the United States when I was in college.

Mr. Brennan is 81 or 82, and we still communicate by email. He was my history teacher. He lives in Connecticut and is a great baseball fan. Mr. Brennan had Mrs. Eckert as a teacher, too. Mr. Brennan combined great teaching techniques with humor and baseball and related so well with students. As is Mrs. Eckert, Mr. Brennan is a legend with his former students.

Mr. Bell made an impact on me because he never wavered on the priority for learning.  I had trouble with where to put apostrophes and Mr. Bell used a name that I was familiar with to help me try and understand -- the Less family name.  This was not a one-time lesson – he was not going to give up on me.  I was going to learn! 

I did learn relationships with students are one of the most important things we can develop.  Students learn more from teachers they respect and Mr. Bell worked hard to earn the respect of his students.  I wrote a paper once about getting my first bra and Mr. Bell wrote on the top of my paper “An utterly ridiculous tale!” I don’t remember much feedback from all of the instructors I’ve had over all the courses I’ve taken.  But, I remember that comment!  What he taught stuck, not just for the test, but for life.
1979 Yearbook photo
What student/athlete made the most impact on you and why? I will not single out any one student or athlete because I had so many of them in my 47 years of teaching. However, as a group, the students who needed some help and teacher understanding stand out the most. I received the most pleasure and gratitude from those students who needed help in English and sometimes with life.

One of the most impact filled lessons Marv modeled for me as a co-worker was his willingness to work with me as a counselor helping problem solve for and with students, due to their choices or life circumstances.  Marv was demanding, but also incredibly compassionate.  He worked very diligently to make sure students understood the curriculum, but also had success, no matter what their abilities or life situation was. 

What was one of your most defining moments in your career at Benton? I remember too many to mention here. I loved teaching and seeing students learn and having success.

One of the defining moments we feel fortunate to have shared with Marv is he was the teacher of two of our three children.  Katie was a service learner for Marv and got a chance to learn from him, not just as a classroom teacher of Composition, but also as a teacher to students who school might not have been the most enjoyable part of their day.  They share a special story about a peppermint and a U.S. Marshall in the classroom.  Rachael was in the last class Marv taught at BC.  She had the opportunity to walk out of the gym from graduation to Marv’s favorite song, “Old Time Rock and Roll” and now loves to run to that song and that type of music.  Both of these daughters say they are better writers due to the instruction that took place in Mr. Bell’s classroom and Todd and I would agree with this as well for us as writers.

Marv & Sherry with their grandchildren

Why did you choose education as a profession and Benton as a place to work? I chose education as a profession because I had such wonderful teachers in elementary school, junior high school, and high school, although I did not think of that at the time I entered college. My college major was English because that had been my best subject in high school, and I had earned an “A” in each of my college freshman English composition courses. My minor was Athletic Coaching.

Marv also shared with me some other tidbits:
·         He started teaching in 1965 and taught at four high schools, one community college, and one state penitentiary. He taught at BC from 1969-2008.

·         He has a Master’s Degree, plus 42 post-graduate credits.
o   Marv encouraged the love of learning within me.  He was a sounding board for me as a counselor and administrator in the MS/HS.  When I would go to his classroom, he’d say, “Sit down Bridgie and have a mint” and if I listened closely, I would gain some valuable insights into what might have been troubling me at the time.  I very much appreciated his investment, time and encouragement of me. 

·         After retirement from BC in 2008, he taught for four years at a state penitentiary in NW Missouri.
o   Marv shared with me that the students he taught at the penitentiary were just as capable as many of the students he worked with in high schools and they needed and thrived with the discipline and high expectations he had of them. 
         To his former BC students, please remember the following:
o   Eat Krispy Kreme donuts and cheeseburgers.
§  Marv and I both have a hankering for a great cheeseburger.  We made it a tradition to go and have one before the start to the school year for several years we worked together.  I miss these times with him.
o   Turn up the volume for old-time rock and roll music.
o   And “We will learn our colors tomorrow.”

When I think the many connections in life, one that blows my mind having to do with Marv and my family is this.  Marv’s dad owned a jewelry store in Maryville, Missouri.  My dad grew up just north of Maryville and bought my mom’s wedding ring from Marv’s dad. 
In life, we may not know where our paths are going to cross or where our roots are going to land.  We just need to keep planting seeds to trees we may never sit under. 

I hope Marv knows that the shade from his tree is still providing a lot of inspiration for me in my work and life.  I miss his mints and words of wisdom, but I hope I’m able to share some of those same comforts with others who are now stopping by to chat with me.

Friday, May 20, 2016

50 Years of Impact -- Mrs. Garbers

“Mother, Mother I love you here are reasons why I do:”

If you know those words, it is most likely due to Judy Garbers.  Every Mother’s Day she would host a Mother’s Day party in her classroom.  She would have her students recite a poem starting with the line above.  Students would sing songs, make treats, serve punch and give away a plant in pots they had made in class to their mother or someone in the room they loved.  Judy remembers fondly that those mother’s (or stand in’s) loved coming to class for this celebration and her students loved preparing for and sharing on this day. 

Events like this define Judy and how she taught in her classrooms at Benton Community for 30 years.   Creating space where learning and love flowed freely.   I never had Judy as a teacher, but my husband did.  When I spoke of Jan Logan and my memories of 2nd grade, Todd shared how he also loved his 2nd grade classroom and his teacher.  Judy was the teacher in his classroom. 

1973-74 Elementary Yearbook Photo

One of Judy’s best memories of her time at BC was when she would have students write letters to themselves and then Judy gave them back to them at graduation.  Seeing her former students grow up into adults has been a very rewarding sidebar of teaching.  She likes to see them and hear their stories about their careers and families.

Judy also remembers when former students would come back to her class and share stories.  She recalls when Chad Hennings came into speak to the 3rd grade students.  He’d put his arms around my shoulder and told my students, “I want you to do what Mrs. Garbers tells you to do.”  The students all responded, “We will!” and then after he left one of the students said in awe, “You know him?”  She told the students, “Yes, I know him and he was a student once just like you are now.”

Judy remembers teaching a section of 32 students and appreciates all the parents who have thanked her over the years.  She told me, “I didn’t do anything that I didn’t want to do – I wanted to be there.”  

Judy grew up in the Newhall area where she played some basketball and was a cheerleader.  One of her teachers who had an impact on her was her high school business teacher, Ms. RoseMary Meyer.  Judy commented, “She made a huge impact on me.  She was why I chose business to study in college.  She kept me in line and taught me discipline.  She was a disciplined person and the older she got the younger looking she got.  She is a neat gal.”  Mr. Harder also drove her bus.  For those of us who have been around BC for some time – both those names are familiar to us. 

One common theme in many of the stories I’ve been writing is how people got hired to work at Benton Community and Judy’s story fits this theme.  She was working at Collins, was married with three children and a business degree.  She told Dutch she would like to teach because she liked being around children so much.  So she became a “late bloomer” student at Mt. Mercy College.  

She remembers it being a struggle for their family financially – but shared “We made it and it’s worked out great!  I studied whenever or wherever I could and Dutch was a great support.”

Judy & Dutch Garbers
As she was attending one of her philosophy courses at Mt. Mercy, she was called out of class to take a phone call.   Dr. Grabinski was on the other line and offered her a 2nd grade teaching job in Keystone.  She was thrilled and ended up teaching 2nd grade for years and 3rd grade for 5 years retiring in 2000.  She has continued to sub for 16 years. 

Students she had a soft spot for were those that had good attitudes, but may have been lacking in some of the academic skills.  She imagined students with “halos on their heads which sometimes she had to polish.”

She remembers having very consistent rules and high expectations for students.  One student told her once, “I know Mrs. Garbers, there are home rules and school rules and we need to follow school rules when we are here.”   Judy said, “Students know and want to meet our expectations.”  She worked for Mr. Andrews, Mr. Black and Mr. Sanderson as building principals.  She also had Mr. Junge as a 2nd grade student.  She believes each of these administrators were and are very supportive of students and staff.  One did tell her once, “Judy, you can’t expect 100% all the time!” to which she responded, “If I don’t, who will?”  She remembers Mr. Andrews giving her a bag of mushrooms the night before he died.

When our conversation turned to what matters in life, she told me “What we focus on in life has to be important!”  One thing that is important to her is reading to kids.  She told her students, “Always find something to read.”

Judy is very proud of her granddaughter Anna.  Anna teaches 1st grade in Keystone and says she and her other grandchildren, children and great grandchild are a “source of joy to her and Dutch.”  Family is so important.
Anna & Carson 
Judy also told me to take the opportunity to travel when you can.  “Life is what you make it – no matter what it is!”  She also shared a line once said at an in-service “Attitude not aptitude determines altitude!”  

I love the message conveyed in that line and here’s the reason why I do; they sum up how Judy taught students for life and not just for a year.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Benton Community 50 Year old Celebration Apparel Order

Benton Community PTO is honoring Benton Communities 50th Birthday!

Click here for more information on how to order a t-shirt or sweatshirt to join in the celebration.  (The image below is just a picture taken from the PTO blog post.)

Benton Community 50 Years -- Theresa Thompson Impact

When I see that symbol I think of Theresa Thompson.  I had the pleasure of working with Theresa as a staff member from the time I moved to the MS/HS building as a counselor in 1997 until she retired in 2015.  T² was great about making me feel part of the “Bobcat Family”.  

T² has many strengths and talents.  One of them I noticed right away was her organization and tidiness.  Theresa shared her classroom with me for 8 years.  I know sometimes our class learning activities were not part of the ELA curriculum – but T² allowed us to do what we needed to make the learning meaningful for students, as long as we put things back where they belonged.  I tried very hard to make sure when we were done using her room for our “careers learning”, it was ready for 7th grade ELA learning without missing a beat.  As she reflected with me where that desire to have an organized classroom developed in her, she spoke of her former teacher Mrs. Teahen. 

Theresa remembered Mrs. Teahen being an “awesome teacher who was perfectly dressed and her class was always organized.”  Theresa said Mrs. Teahen was the person who inspired her as a student with reading and writing instruction to become a teacher who passed inspiration along to her own students – which T² did for 31 years.   Theresa wants to be remembered as a teacher that instilled work ethic and the importance of reading as a life skill – “not quite as important as breathing – but pretty darn close!”
Theresa learning Google tools in 2011

When I asked Theresa about one of her best memories of her time at BC she told me that was a crazy question.  One thing I can always count on T² being is honest.  I very much appreciated how T² would come to my office (counseling or administration) to share her thoughts and insights to make sure I was in the loop.  She shared information and her insights to help me make good decisions, whether that involved a student or staff concern.  I very much appreciated these conversations. 

She did finally respond to my ‘crazy question’ with, “If I had to pick one thing, it’s the kids I taught and the people I worked with who were phenomenal.  We are Bobcats.  Being a Bobcat means being on the same page of character, integrity and knowing and doing the right thing.  We are supportive of one another, celebrate with and commiserate together.  But, the key word that binds Bobcats is “together”.
Jacque Sanderson and Theresa chaperoning a MS Dance in 2003

Theresa feels she was part of the MS Dream Team of which she learned much from and shares much with.  One of her favorite start of the year happenings was when Jim VanEtten would come into to her classroom on every first day of school and fill his coffee cup.  He would shake her hand and say, “What do you say kid?  Let’s do it another year”.  Theresa thought in some ways her job was one of the easiest job in the world because of the consistency within the middle school staff.  She commented that we took care of ourselves and each other by supporting one another. 
MS Staff 2008

Theresa graduated from Loras College in 1981 and subbed in the Cedar Rapids and Central City school districts before landing a job as a study hall monitor and coach at Marion.  She coached volleyball, basketball and softball at Marion.   She became aware of an opening at Benton when her principal, Larry Twachtman said, “I hate to tell you this, but Lee Wise called and said BC has an opening and wanted you to be aware of it.”  

Theresa called and set up an interview with HS Principal Don Gibney for the next day.  She brought along her letter of application, resume, transcripts and letters of recommendations.   After meeting with Don for about 45 minutes she said, “When will you let me know about your decision on this position?”   He responded, “The job is yours if you want it.”   She went home and told her mom she could “quit praying to the patron Saint Jude” (Saint of lost causes), because she had “just accepted a full-time teaching job.” 

T² helped start the volleyball program at BC in the fall of 1984 with Linda Runkle.  She remembers building up the program took lots of blood, sweat and tears.  One of the most gratifying feelings of all that effort came during the 2nd season of volley ball at Benton Community when the team won a match.  During her tenure as a volleyball coach they also won a conference championship. 

After 18 years of coaching volleyball she retired from coaching.  That all changed in the fall of 2002 when Kal Goodchild got down on one knee and said “Please coach 7th grade volleyball.  I have no one to coach these kids.”   She told me, “How could I say no?   Dave didn’t even do that when he proposed to me!  So, I coached for one more year.”  She also coached basketball for 7 years and softball for 10.  Theresa was also sponsor for the MS Musical for 6 years and HS speech for 2 years.  All of those years of coaching and sponsorship were a huge gift from T² to our extra-curricular programs.  They are stronger because of her commitment to our students and programs. 
MS Staff VB Champs 2002

As Theresa looked into her transitioning from full-time teaching into her next phase of life, she jumped right into full-time volunteering.  She became part of the Van Horne Lion’s, Benton Scholarship Foundation Board and our Benton Community Board of Directors.  She also kept her job as head timer at all our track meets.  I’m not quite sure a track meet at BC would run so well without her organizational skills at the finish line.    

One reason she decided to run for the school board was it was a great way to stay involved in education.  She believes this is a great school district with a great superintendent.  She thinks her transition to this new role in the district has gone smoothly and she is learning about the budget and appreciates the way the administrative team explains new learning to the board. 

The volunteering does not stop with Theresa in the Thompson Family.  I have often seen her husband, Dave, in our community helping others.  He snow plows for many residents of Van Horne, collects and stores cans and bottles for the Van Horne Rec Department and helps build playgrounds.  I’m sure there are many other things the Thompson's do for our community that I am not aware of.  The Thompson's are givers to our community.

When T² left her classroom after 31 years, she left behind a legacy of the importance of working hard and being a learner.  She also took her boom box that played some fantastic toons the staff danced to as the students entered the MS Pod area.  I tried to find a video we had of her dancing in the hallway in front of the security cameras for this story – but it is currently hiding from me.  If I find it, I’ll link it in

I have missed seeing Theresa on a daily basis during the school year.  She always had a way to make me smile and or laugh every day I worked with her.  I’m glad that she is willing to sub for us, serve on our board, work our track meets, serve on our board, be involved in our community, serve on our board and keep us all organized, smiling and laughingJ 

I have been sharing blog posts with the spotlighted people before I post them to make sure I have their information correct.  When I did this with Theresa – here was her response (and I quote), “I sure hope you don't find that video footage!!  I guarantee Dancing with the Stars will NOT be calling me!!"

There are many things I love and her sense of humor is high on the list! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Benton Community Supports -- we need your help for the Financial Literacy Fair

Come Join in the Fun!  

Area 8th graders have the opportunity to participate in a Financial Literacy Fair in May to be held at the Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center right off of Boyson Road in Hiawatha! 

The students will have selected a career and determined their salary and taxes.  They’ll come to the fair to face the reality of monthly bills for all of the necessities (transportation, housing, insurance, savings, food, etc.).   At the end, they’ll meet with a financial counselor one-on-one to discuss their choices on how they spent or saved their salary!

Would you like the opportunity to interact with students?
We are looking for volunteers to help staff the booths.

No experience necessary!  We’ll train you the ½ hour before the students arrive.

You’ll be amazed at the learning that happens this day and the interaction with the students is a blast!  This is a great way to see how we’re working together to prepare students for their future!!

Full - Monday, May 9              9am-Noon,         Central City, North Linn, Springville & VS
Need 9 More - Tuesday, May 10          9am-Noon,          Linn-Mar Oak Ridge Middle School
Full - Wednesday, May 11       9am-Noon,         Linn-Mar Excelsior Middle School
Need 10 more - Thursday, May 12      9am-Noon,          Alburnett, Center Point-Urbana and Midland MS
Need 8 more - Friday, May 13            9am-Noon,          Lisbon, Marion Vernon MS & Marion Home School
Need 16 more - Monday, May 16        8:45am-Nooon    CR Roosevelt and CR Wilson Middle Schools
Need 24 more - Tuesday, May 17       8:45am - 12:15     Prairie Point Middle School
Need 14 more - Wednesday, May 18  8:45am-Noon       Benton Community and CR Franklin MS
Need 15 more - Thursday, May 19     8:45am-Noon       CR McKinley and Taft Middle Schools
Need 11 more - Friday, May 20          9am-Noon            CR Harding Middle School

** Check in and training begins at the beginning time listed; students arrive 30 minutes from that time.
** All Linn County fairs will occur at the Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center at 1770 Boyson Road in Hiawatha.

Click on the link below to register: