Mentors moving on

HIGH-FIVE GOODBYE. Longtime art/phys-ed teacher Randy McIntire was a student-favorite at TAHS since 1985.

Graduation means saying goodbye to dozens of seniors. This year, District 2904 will bid adieu to a number of faculty and staff — some who have been gracing the halls for more than three decades.
Just between the three of them, Paul Skoglund, Randy McIntire and special education teacher Cindy VanDorsten have combined to put in 100 years in the school district.
Today, the Headlight Herald is featuring a number of faculty and staff members who each in their own way have been an integral part of the school district. Others departing the school district include teacher Walker Hennen, para-professional McKynna Cochran and Marissa Olson from the Reading Corp. Amanda Boushek has been board approved to fill Hennen’s position, TAHS Supt. Chad Anderson said.

Randy McIntire: Too many changes to keep track of

By Per Peterson

How long has Randy McIntire been shaping young minds at Tracy Area High School? Well, consider he has served the school district under four different superintendents. Or consider that when he started, art students had to learn how to develop their own film.
Last week, McIntire looked back on his long career at TAHS as he looks ahead to a move to the Battle Lake area with his wife, Robin.
“I’m guessing I’m probably the art teacher that’s been here the longest,” said McIntire, who arrived in Tracy in 1985. “It’s not something I planned on trying to do; the years just kept on piling up.
McIntire, who taught at Edgerton Public School for two years after graduating from Bemidji State University, has taught art and physical education, as well as CPR and First-Aid classes at TAHS. He said, technology has been the biggest agent of changes in the field over the years.
“Being able to use computers to design things — Photoshop, things like that,” he said. “It’s made a big difference in the things I’ve done.”
Technology has also influenced photography and how it is taught, he said.
“It used to be 35 millimeter (film), and darkroom stuff,” he said. “We built these two rooms here (in the art room for darkrooms) and we use them for storage now.”
McIntire said the digital world of photography does make things easier, and less expensive, in the classroom.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

Next up for Paul Skoglund, long-time ag teacher at TAHS: hunting guide.

Paul Skoglund: New adventures beckon

By Seth Schmidt

Paul Skoglund says that he is not “retiring,” just moving on to a new phase of life.
“There are some other things I’d like to do.  I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done here at the high school and met a lot of good people.  But I’m 60 years old and I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon and I’ve never needed to have a passport.”
The veteran ag teacher and FFA advisor plans to begin his next life’s chapter in early June as a pheasant and grouse hunting guide near Saratoga, Wyoming. He discovered the job by accident while browsing the Internet.
“I saw this help-wanted ad, read the job description, and thought to myself, ‘That’s me.’”  He inquired for more information, and one communication led to another, and Skoglund soon found himself hired.
“It sounds pretty interesting,” Skoglund smiles.  “Now anyone who wants to pay $4,700, can come out and hunt pheasants with me.”
Skoglund has no other specific post-teaching plans, except that he plans to stay in Tracy.
“I’m not selling my house. I’ll be coming back here in November.  Most people spend the summer in Minnesota, and go south in the winter. I’ll be the opposite.”
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

School registrar Deb Ludeman enjoyed all the challenges that came with her job.

Deb Ludeman: TAHS’s master planner

By Per Peterson

Not only has Deb Ludeman been able to accept the challenges her job as school registrar has brought over the last two decades, she has been able to keep tabs on her children as they grew up in the school district. And more recently, her job has allowed her to do the same with her grandkids.
“When I started, my children were here, except for Ben — Hillary and Grant were still both in school — and now I’ve got grandkids here,” said Ludeman, who is retiring after 24 years at the high school. “I think my grandkids don’t mind me being here as much as my kids did.”
Ludeman’s position started out as administrate assistant to the guidance office, or guidance secretary. Among her many duties is scheduling. As of last week, she had completed nearly all of the schedules necessary for the 2017-18 school year.
“Spring is always the hardest, because I have that and awards night things to take care of at the same time,” she said.
Ludeman said she spends more than two months planning and organizing for Senior Recognition Night, which takes place in the middle of May every year. She has been overseeing awards night since 1993. This year’s event was a particularly special one for Ludeman, as she was honored by the school for her years of work. The cool part was, she didn’t even know it was going to happen.
“I was very surprised,” she said. “I looked over and saw my daughter and granddaughter there, and I thought, ‘Well, that was nice for them to come and see Kendra get her recognition, and then I started to get suspicious. I didn’t know it was going to happen.”
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

Cynthia VanDorsten shows off a special poster that was made by one of her students.

Cynthia VanDorsten: One year turns into a rewarding career

By Per Peterson

Cynthia VanDorsten always felt like she worked around-the-clock. Not that she’s complaining, she loved her career, but given the growing amount of paperwork that comes with her profession, hers is almost a 24/7 proposition that has become too much to deal with.
“Being a special ed teacher, you work with children during the day, and at night you do paperwork,” she said. “It’s that night work that I don’t want to do anymore. If it weren’t for the paperwork, I wouldn’t be retiring. I love the kids so much.”
VanDorsten has been working for the school district for 38 years. She started out with what was then known as a trainable mentally handicapped class. It’s now known as early childhood special education. She used to work with children in grades 3 to 6. More recently, she has worked with just preschool-aged children.
VanDorsten co-teaches at Kid’s World with Kari Landuyt, who is the lead teacher.
“I’m in the classroom with her,” VanDorsten said. “I lead a couple things, like the gym activities. When we break into small groups at certain times of the day, she has a group and I have a group. Then we flip-flop. That’s how we work together.”

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.