By Kayla Turner, Anna Schwarz, and Erubey Lopez
What are your plans after you retire/leave your current position?
Chris Tormey: Travel a good deal more. Hiking a bicycling with his wife, maybe hiking the John Muir trail in CA. More farming, and sub teaching.
Jen Connelly: To help my grandson get through school. He’ll be starting 5th grade, where I will be taking a day of music a week. I’ll also be a scout leader.
Doug Boardman: I’m excited about my new job I’ve been kinda in a rut, I’m excited to get some new challenges and try some new things. After when I’m done there I will go back to writing and playing music.
Polly Vance: Headed to Tennessee to teach at Signal Mountain high school.
What will you miss most?
Tormey: The kids! And the excitement. That’s what makes it fun. It’s satisfying if you both like the subject area and like the kids. The cool thing about kids is that they are enormously open about trying new things.
Connelly: I’ll miss the kids the most. I think I’ll miss chorus, which has been a real joy, seeing the students grow musically over the years. It has been nice to see them develop over time. The kids are full of interesting and wonderful ideas.
Boardman: The teachers in the english department, the people, definitely will miss this group of seniors because I’ve had a lot of them for three years… But it feels like I’m leaving at the right time
Vance: The community and the kids.
What won’t you miss?
Tormey: Although it’s been challenging, I think it will be nice to have more time after school to do things. Right now I spend that time on homework. You know, I actually spend 2 or 3 hours each night on homework. A Sunday afternoon in a teacher’s world is a different Sunday afternoon that it is for you.
Connelly: Travelling from Waterbury. And having more time.
Boardman: No comment
Vance: The winter.
What are you looking forward to in the future following your leave?
Tormey: Getting a family farming business started.
Connelly: Having time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, and enjoy them!
Boardman: I’m looking forward to a new election in 2020, and I’m looking forward to my new job, the tech center has a great reputation and I’m looking forward to working there. When I retire I look forward to traveling and performing as a musician.
How long have you been working here?
Tormey: 32 years.
Connelly: Here, 17 years. As a teacher, 36 total.
Boardman: Came to the Middle School in 1994, came to high school in 2000, 24 years all together.
Vance: 24 years.
What has changed most during your time at LUHS?
Tormey: When I first started teaching, the students had more of a sense that if the worked hard they could get it. I think there is a greater chunk of the school population that is not as focused on learning when they come to school. They are more focused on their devices.
Connelly: The fact that people want to tolerate one another and accept one another is great.
Boardman: School is like a little world inside a bubble to me. You find all the things in nature good and bad along with politics. I think that there is more drama, especially with younger girls, and definitely the electronics have changed most in the last twenty years. I think kids know that and are starting to maybe push back against electronics. Social norms that weren’t expected twenty years ago are normal. Schools may be fighting a losing battle against popular culture.
Vance: I think technology has made the biggest change. More drama, less time socializing in the hallway, instant information…yet at the same time in a positive way. More aware of the cool things going on with students and teachers, more easily able to get info to kids and athletes, lots of things.
How has working at LUHS changed you as a person? What have you learned?
Tormey: I know it’s made me a better thinker, and listener. One thing, if you ask any teacher, they are very much flexible and don’t get bothered by chaos.
Connelly: I’ve learned to be very patient and deliberate in showing acceptance and deliberate in being loving and kind. Because sometimes it is very difficult, but yet you know that they have needs.
Boardman: this is my first public school teacher job. I started out as a journalist, nice facility, good people who work here. I think i’ve gotten more cynical about bureaucracy. Some of the things that we do have been handed down by people who are above us, and might not understand teaching, which can be very frustrating sometimes
Vance: It’s given me an incredible perspective on how different people are.
Funniest student story/most positive memory?
Tormey: One time I got a call at 7:30 at night from the vice principal, who said “Chris, I know you’re not at school, but I’m wondering if you could tell me anything about the kind of preservative that’s used on your preserved squid.” I said, why is that, and he said that apparently there was a student that took a bit of a squid tentacle and bet some others on the bus that he would eat it.
Connelly: The most positive thing I’ll take with me is the relationship with the kids. Overall that warm and fuzzy feeling of respect and admiration. — The first time we had someone accepted into districts and allstates.
Boardman: one of the best parts of my job is that the kids make me laugh, you have to have a sense of humor to be a teacher, every day, kids crack me up,
Vance: The people in the building have all in some way made me smile so much.