Saying Goodbye: Beloved staff members move on from BHS

"It's the hardest choice I've ever had to make, actually."

“It’s the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make actually,” says Zack Carlson, a choir teacher here at BHS. The end of the school year can bring emotions to students when they realize they’re saying goodbye for the year or even for good. It’s never easy, even for the people we look up to, the teachers. 

Carlson, an adored teacher for many here at BHS announced to all his students he was indeed leaving the school. There were tears in his student’s eyes while they were walking away from class but for Carlson, an opportunity was given. “When a door opens you just have to walk through sometimes,” said Carlson.

He still cherishes his students and hopes they can continue singing and loving music. He made his family here, but now it’s time for one of his own.

“When the rubber hits the road, the opportunity to have a family is way sooner by moving and teaching in another district,” said Carlson. Although he’s saying his goodbyes, he’s never gone for good. “I will always cheer for the bison… It’s like home,” Carlson said.

It’s not easy for anybody to make the decision to leave and to make a sacrifice, but for these teachers, it wasn’t something that came easy. Questions for themselves, and thinking about the whole of things. 

“Do I renew my license, or do I change things up?” said Erika Clifton, an English and AVID teacher at BHS.

Every decision has its parts to it for Clifton, there were many she had to look at, including her license to teach. Teaching is a heavy career to go down and Clifton took it from her very own angle.

“Ultimately, I kind of took it as a blessing in disguise,” said Clifton, “it requires a lot of out-of-school time, and I had given up a lot of family, and friends time to do it.”

Clifton gave a lot of her own time to these students, not because she had to, but because she wanted to. She really showcased how much she enjoyed her time at BHS and that her teaching wasn’t always about learning.

“I teach because I love teaching students and I like connecting with them,” Clifton said.

For some, it was new families, a different opportunity in life, or a bit of a change, but for some, it can also be that the things they’re working on from afar would be much better if they were present for it. 

Mike Knutson, an orchestra and band teacher at BHS found that what he was doing would be much more efficient if he could be physically present for it.

“I want to be in a place where I’m working on it every day with my students in real-time,” said Knutson.

He presented a positive community throughout the music department at BHS, where he only hopes for them to get great teachers moving forward.

“The students almost always talk about the music department, not my band, or my orchestra, things like that,” said Knutson.

His farewell from the high school is only in the best interest of the students.

“I hope that the cohesiveness of the music department can continue,” Knutson said. 

Hearts touched, lives changed, but one thing remains the same, the impact all the teachers have made in people’s lives, and students’ lives. Not just the three stories depicted above have made a difference, but it’s all around, schoolwide. It includes a multitude of other teachers saying goodbye so students have the chance to say hello.

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