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A final goodbye to retiring teachers

FFA supervisor and agricultural science teacher Steven Paasch is one of the three teachers that have left the Bruin family this past school year. Photo by Bella Ferrari

With agricultural science teacher and FFA supervisor Steven Paasch and math teachers Andrea Perna and Steve McCullough announcing their retirement from their teaching positions at Bear River, students were left without the chance to say goodbye due to the abrupt end to last year. 

Despite this slight set back, Mariah Crandall, a rising junior, provided her input on her time in Mrs. Perna’s class.

“She was super kind and yet she taught very firmly,” she said. “She really got you to learn the subject … She taught me math and actually got me interested. I’m never usually interested in math but she somehow did … She would just always help when I needed it, and she always has love for her students in her heart … I am very thankful.”

Fellow math teacher Vicki Burrell also commented on her favorite aspects of Mrs. Perna.

“Mrs. Perna is a kind, caring teacher who has always maintained high expectations for her students,” she said. Although I will miss her, I am very happy for her, and wish her all of the best.”

Similarly, a few students added their own thoughts about their time with Mr. Paasch.

“He found ways to teach us the real world applications for things that we could see ourselves using in the future,” said rising Senior Connor McGeehee. “Overall his fun, loving attitude helped make him a great teacher. He was always there to make a joke, sit down and talk, or whatever else you needed whenever you needed it.”

Rising Junior Annabelle Boan emphasized on her daily lunches in Mr. Paasch’s room.

“I loved having a place where I would go and eat lunch knowing that I was welcome,” she said.

The same sweet sentiments can be felt for Mr. McCullough as well.

“McCullough was a pretty funny teacher, and when using his teaching methods, he lightened up the mood with a funny story or a joke,” said rising Senior Ava Graham. “I’ll miss his optimism and smile he gives whenever you enter his classroom.”

“I loved McCullough’s frantic yet effective teaching styles, and his classes were never boring,” said rising Junior Annabelle Boan.

Mr. McCullough commented on how his students will remember him.

“I had the best jokes, but you had to sit in the front row to get them,” he said. “They came fast and actually were pretty good. [I want students to remember] that I was right about the phones: you need to disconnect and be human for a while.”

He continued to elaborate upon his motivation and love for the subject he taught so many students.

“I was passionate about the mathematics,” he said. “It is truly a wonderful subject for those that can get past high school and a few college courses of math and into graduate level courses- then mathematics is fun. [I will miss] the staff and the students that work so hard to understand.”

While the job description of a teacher may read educating students about their designated subject, teachers’ main priority is simply aiding a student in growing as a person by reminding them of important life lessons that extend far beyond the reaches of simply math, science, English, and others. McGeehee made sure to recognize the important lessons Mr. Paasch taught him over the years.

“One of the main things I learned from Mr. Paasch is to work hard and never give up,” he said. “He always pushed me to be the best I could and always try my best. He would always get me to try new things, and sometimes I was even good at them! He taught me that if you get outside your comfort zone and work hard, you can achieve anything.”

Several other students had last messages for their teachers.

“Thank you Mrs. Perna! You were such an influential and understanding teacher!” said rising Senior Nick Baltz.

“Thank you for being so nice to me [Mrs. Perna],” said rising Senior Elaina Wargala.

“Perna was a great teacher despite what some may say,” said Crandall. “She was firm and some people take that as mean but she did an amazing job and she’s the reason math is way easier for me now.”

Others left messages for Mr. Paasch.

“Every moment spent with Paasch outside the classroom was unforgettable,” said another rising Senior Brody Russell.

“Farewell Mr. Paasch, it was so much fun having you as my Ag teacher,” said rising Junior Marshall Karadunis.

“[I loved] all the fun times in Horticulture [with you Mr. Paasch],” said rising Senior Colby Morris.

“Thank you for all of the memories [Mr. Paasch]! You’ll be missed,” said Wargala.

“[Mr. Paasch was the] greatest teacher of all time,” said Morgan Peterson, a rising junior.

“Mr. Paasch is a great teacher, and I have learned a lot from him over the years,” said McGeehee. “I am grateful for all the time I had learned under him. He helped me push myself to reach my full potential and I will be forever grateful.”

As for rising Junior Sam Evans and rising Senior Maddie Meilinger, they shared their favorite memories in Mr. McCullough’s class.

“‘I hope you have fun in homework land!’” said Evans.

“‘Oh are you graphing little dinosaurs or something?’” said Meilinger.

A few others added their own statements about Mr. McCullough.

“One of my favorite math teachers and best assistant softball coach,” said Bear River alumni Britanny Mouck.

“Thank you for all of your help,” said Wargala. “I’ll miss having you as a teacher.” 

“I’m glad to have been your students in your classroom, despite ending too soon,” said Graham.

Mr. McCullough left with one final comment.

“I leave all my knowledge on the white board in G8,” he said. “So if you ever need help, just go into G8 and stare at the white board you’ll soon realize that – IT’S WHITE… oh my there is my last ‘joke’.”  

Bear River wishes all three teachers good luck in the next chapter of their lives.

— Alek Arreguin contributed to this report.

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A final goodbye to retiring teachers