Lynda Farrar currently teaches Pre-AP English 9, Read 180, and AP Literature. After years of being at Bear Creek, Farrar decided to retire due to family concerns.
“One’s age doesn’t necessarily automatically determine one’s time to retire,” Farrar said.
“I have an elderly mother who is most likely in her last year of life. I would like to spend more time with my mother before she dies, which seems very inevitable. I also have three grandsons and I would like the opportunity to be a little more invested in their lives.”
Many students will remember Farrar for her dedication to her class and she wanted to make sure she put in all of her effort into teaching until the very end.
“One thing I was really, really adamant about is not wanting to be one of those teachers who ‘quits five years before they retire,’” Farrar said. “I didn’t want to overstay my welcome.”
Since Farrar was the only AP Lit teacher at Bear Creek, current AP Lang and Composition teacher Laura La Rue plans to take over the class.
Farrar has decided to take advantage of her retirement by traveling and experiencing the world.
“We are going on an African safari at the end of July with the Smithsonian,” Farrar said. “We are going to go to visit Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.”
Ending a career as a long-time educator can be a difficult decision, but for those who have an adventure-filled life still ahead of them, life is good.
That’s the bright future that Kathy Scott has to look forward to after she retires from Bear Creek High School after 18 years here.
Scott teaches AP Human Geography, U.S. Government and Politics AP and Macro Economics AP. While Human Geo is often the first AP class high schoolers—mostly freshmen—encounter at Bear Creek, Gov and Econ are some of the last AP classes offered to students their senior year.
She has followed the academic lives of many students as they go from newbie freshmen to mature seniors.
“Had I gone into another profession, there’s so many kids I would have never come into contact with that I still am in contact with that graduated 10 years ago,” Scott said.
Before teaching, Scott had spent some time outside the United States in countries such as Greece, Spain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.
“Somebody asked the other day if I regretted [traveling],” Scott said. I said ‘no!’”
Now that she’s going to retire Scott plans to travel again.
“We’ve got plans to go up to Alaska and spend time with some friends,” Scott said. “We’ve got friends on the East Coast that we haven’t seen for years.”
Greece, Spain, Boston and New York are all places she and her husband would like visit again after such a long time not visiting there.
Her experiences in different places have translated into teaching with tolerance for all walks of life.
“I came into teaching with a more holistic view of the world and of people,” Scott said. “It helped me in my teaching to see beyond the kid that’s acting out in the classroom and what might be causing that.”
Scott said she will remember Bear Creek for its positive environment which encourages everyone to be part of a pseudo-family. As a final message to her students, Scott reminds them to be in the moment.
“Live every moment because you never know when something’s gonna happen,” Scott said. “You don’t want to live with regrets.”
One of the Bear Creek P.E. legends is finally calling it quits. Tom Gonsalves will retire after 22 years of teaching.
Well known for coaching the St. Mary’s High School girls basketball team, Gonsalves began working at Bear Creek two years after it opened in 1994. Gonsalves has been teaching since he was 21 years old, accounting for nearly 40 years of what he calls “excellence in teaching.”
Gonsalves said he would most miss the interactions with co-workers and students, saying, “Just being around people and socializing, I will miss that.” Gonsalves received the Naismith Award in 2016 for National High School Coach of the Year.
Gonsalves also praised the recent improvements to Bear Creek’s football, baseball and track and field facilities.
“I think the improvement in facilities over the years has been great for the school, and the Creek’s sports programs have improved tremendously since I began teaching here,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves confirmed that he will continue coaching at St. Mary’s and says he is content with his accomplishments.
“I will miss Bear Creek, but I am ready for the next chapter of my life,” Gonsalves said.
Marilyn Eger, who plans to retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, has taught art at Bear Creek since it opened in 1991, making her one of the “originals.” She currently teachers Intro to Art, Advanced Studio Art Drawing, and AP Studio Art Drawing.
For 25 years, Eger has enjoyed working with her artistic students.
“I have loved my time at Bear Creek,” Eger said. “I come to work with a smile and leave with a smile. Bear Creek is like a second home.”
However, as with every job, Eger faced the good and bad.
“The [worst] was having cancer while teaching,” she said. “My students were very kind and supportive through the experience. Being able to focus on my students kept my mind positive throughout the health issues.”
After years of teaching, Eger plans to follow relax after she retires.
“I will spend many hours painting on location, petting my dogs, watching the sunrise with my morning coffee and planting my vegetable garden,” Eger said.
After she retires, her classes will be given to her replacement, but a new teacher has not been confirmed for next year yet.
“I do not know who is taking over my classes,” Eger said. “Teachers will be interviewed in the next few weeks… if the new teacher is qualified to teach AP Studio Art Drawing, then the six students who signed up with select an alternative class with Ms. Baysinger.”
Spanish 1 and 2 teacher Mary Moran has taught for 20 years, five of which have been spent at Bear Creek.
“I’ve really enjoyed [teaching at Bear Creek],” Moran said. “There’s so many nice students and staff and I’ve felt very comfortable. We collaborate a lot in our departments. We help each other.”
Moran has much she will miss about teaching like her experiences with her students and her motivation in life.
“My favorite part about teaching has been the spontaneity of the kids and living in the moment,” Moran said. “Also, I’m going to miss having a purpose as it has been work for my whole life.”
“I’m definitely not going to miss the bells and the constant interruptions,” Moran said.
Teachers are typically referred to as the mind shapers of the new generation, and Moran hopes she has left her mark in a positive way.
“Be a leader, not a follower,” Moran said. “Follow your own instinct and you will find your way.”
“As for her retirement plans, she hopes to explore.
“There are many places I haven’t seen yet,” Moran said. “I want to go exploring to Sequoia, the Calgary Rodeo in Canada, and Powell in Wyoming. I want to join protest marches for democracy or even learn Italian.”
Moran also plans to lead a life following a new philosophy.
“I’m going to enjoy the moment without being in a rush,” Moran said.
And as a final goodbye, Moran has one thing to say: “Qué les vaya bien” — “I wish the best for you.