Big Sky Sun Journal

Retiring Teachers

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Mrs. Kampa stretching with her 4th period class.

Mrs. Kampa stretching with her 4th period class.

Angel Williams

Angel Williams

Mrs. Kampa stretching with her 4th period class.

Every school year, teachers all around the world retire. This year Big Sky has three teachers who have made it to that next chapter of their lives. All together they have worked for a total of 131 years!

P’nut: “I bleed blue and gold”

   Health Enhancement teacher Maureen Thomas, also known as P’nut, has been teaching at Big Sky for 38 years “Big Sky was my first teaching job.”

Big Sky is the only place she’s ever taught. “This has been home for me for so many years, it’s just all I know. I get paid to play with the kids and to teach them skills that they may not ever get the opportunity to do.”

P’nut is excited about retiring but knows she’s going to miss the kids at Big Sky “I’m going to miss going out on, what we call adventures with students. Downhill skiing, activities, to discovery trips, trips to the golf course.”

Special Education teacher LanAnn Bryant has been a close friend of P’nut’s for many years. “I’m excited for her because she’s excited to move to the next phase of her life but I’m also sad because she is leaving,” Bryant shares.

Bryant didn’t personally know P’nut until after coming to Big Sky. “I knew of P’nut because she was a gymnastics coach and my sisters at the time were in it and they would talk about P’nut. I remember asking, “P’nut? What’s a P’nut?”

For P’nut there isn’t a specific teaching moment that she likes, but she enjoys the tennis unit and rock climbing units. “You start with people who haven’t held a racket before and by the end of the unit it’s really fun to see them playing an actual game.”

“With rock climbing it’s such a technical unit and you have to pay attention to detail. But along with that it takes a team approach. You can see the kids interact with each other like, ‘move your foot up on the left.’”

P’nut will always cheer Big Sky on. “I have a closet full of blue and gold. I bleed blue and gold. And I will always cheer for the Eagles.”

 

Kampa: “I love kids and I have from the start”

   Joan Kampa has been teaching for 30 years. Big Sky was not her first teaching job. “I got my first job at Hawthorne Elementary for a semester, then I went to Washington Middle School for a semester. I was there for about 10 years.”

Kampa started teaching because she’s always loved being around kids. “I love kids and I have from the start. I just think kids are the greatest. I just respect them. It’s awesome being able to build a connection or bond with them,” she says.

She is still excited about taking on a new challenge, “I am excited to take on a new chapter in life,” Kampa says “My youngest son is a sophomore in college so I’m excited to hopefully go to all his soccer games.”

Mrs. Kampa has made connections with students so strong that they’ve come to her during a bad situation, “One of my students was struggling with his father and his brother, who were both struggling with suicide,” she shares. “I was at a Griz game and he called me and said ‘Mrs. Kampa my brother is holding a gun to his head right now and you told me to call you whenever I need you’, I shared my number with him. I talked him through what to do. I was really honored at the moment because he chose to come to me.”

Kampa wants to share with all Big Sky students and staff that she loved the journey she had here. “I’ve just had such a great ride here, it’s such a positive place and it’s allowed me to teach and allowed me to meet such amazing kids. I’m really blessed to have chosen this profession and what a great school to end on.”

Teacher sits at desk while his students work

Angel Williams
Mr. Ashworth sitting at his desk during his 8th period class while his students were reading.

Ashworth: “I’ll miss the relationships”

   English teacher David Ashworth is also retiring. “I’ve been teaching for 33 years and I’ve worked here all 33 years.”

Ashworth decided to teach English because of his love for reading and teaching kids. “To teach English is to teach the love of reading. I loved to read as a kid. I really loved fiction. And so that was one of my main reasons and I loved working with kids so I became an English teacher,” Ashworth states.

Ashworth isn’t sure about what he will do after retiring.“I’m not too sure right off the bat but I made a weird contract with a former math teacher at Big Sky,” Ashworth shares “He is near 75 I believe, I made a deal with him that I will play while he is still playing, maybe I’ll do a little bit of substitute teaching too.”
Ashworth is nervous about retiring and knows he will miss everyone from Big Sky. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years, so just deciding suddenly that you’re not going to do it anymore is a little scary,” he shares. “I will just miss the relationships with students and teachers.”

Margie Buchholtz

   Margie Buchholtz is our school bookkeeper she has been working at Big Sky for 30 years. “I’m the bookkeeper here at Big Sky, it’ll be 30 years in July. And that’s the month I retire this year,” she shares. “Big Sky’s the only school I’ve worked at.”

Buchholtz is going to miss the staff and the students here. “I’ll miss the people, there are a lot of great co-workers and nice students. I work with some of the students at Home Depot.”

Margie’s favorite moment was going to school plays. “My favorite moment at Big Sky, I think it was when I got to go see the plays when I wasn’t working so late at night.” she shares. “You get to see the kid’s talents. And also senior projects”

After she retires she plans to go travel and work another job. “I’ll still be working a full time job,” she shares. “I’m going to travel and see my ten grandkids, I’m also going to Houston, Texas and Ghana, Africa”

We wish you the best!

   The whole school wants to wish the best to these teachers who are entering the next chapter in their lives.

“I just wish you the best,” Bryant shares “and don’t forget us. Come back and visit.”

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