High school and the eventual graduation that takes place as our four years of attendance come to a close is inevitable. We move on as we further our education going to college. For most of us, the only time we will return to our high school stomping grounds will be for high school reunions. Some, however, return a lot sooner and stay a lot longer.
Some students become the teachers and work where they were once taught that anything is possible. Now they are the ones dispensing this mantra to their students. These Charter Oak (CO) alumni became CO faculty.
Many of her students revere her. Mrs. Jaime Bauer, English teacher, has become the most admired teacher for several of her students. She emits positivity as she follows her belief as she said, “Work hard, follow your heart and you will have a happy life.”
Mrs. Bauer was involved during her high school years. She played volleyball, soccer and track and was on the varsity cheer team during her senior year. She also participated in ASB and was in the spring musical senior year.
Once Mrs. Bauer graduated from high school, coming back to Charter Oak was originally not on her mind. She was planning to set off on a different path, but after careful evaluation, she thought it best to become a teacher.
“Teaching would allow me to have a career and be actively involved with the family I wanted to have,” she said.
She has always felt a familial presence at Charter Oak. Coming back to teach here was like reuniting with an extended family. She is satisfied with the changes to her original plans.
“At this point in time, I would say my plan has worked out pretty well,” she added.
Mr. Bill Keilty, physical education teacher, is light-hearted and encourages his students to do their best when it comes to physical activities. His experience at Charter Oak as a student can be summed up as an awesome time in his life.
Mr. Keilty has four brothers who also attended Charter Oak around the same time as he did. Mr. Keilty was involved with sports: he played basketball for three years and football for four years. When he graduated, he hoped to return.
“My former coaches were so awesome that I wanted to come back and continue to learn from them,” he said.
Three teachers/coaches made his high school experience more endearing and memorable. Wayne Fetters, who taught U.S. history; Don Hunt, who taught English; and Jim Clanton, who was his football coach, impacted Keilty and his decision as to what he wanted to do in life. His coach, Jim Clanton, later became Keilty’s mentor when he came back to teach in September 1974.
Mr. Keilty remembers his teachers being extremely passionate about what they were teaching, which instilled in him a love for what he does. When asked what he would tell his younger self in high school, he responded with, “Stay involved and make lots of friends. Remain focused on your academic studies first and foremost, and then enjoy the sports and friends that are here at Charter Oak.”
In high school, he fell in love with a sport filled with grace and stamina. For four years in high school, Mr. Tom Parslow, business teacher and web master, was involved with swim. After swimming on varsity for three years, he still holds swim close to his heart.
Mr. Parslow had a positive experience attending Charter Oak. In addition to swim, he was involved with Boy Scouts and obtained his Eagle Rank. After high school, Parslow knew that he would one day return.
“I knew I wanted to come back as a swim coach because my varsity coach, Howard Hyde, told me that I would be great at it,” he said. A year after he graduated he did return as a junior varsity swim coach and continued for the next three years.
He briefly left Charter Oak for a short career in accounting. Before he left, Mrs. Ann Wilber, the head coach at the time, said to Parslow, “You’ll be back here to teach one day, I just know it.” Just as Mrs. Wilber predicted, three years later, he returned to coaching JV. Three years later, he began teaching here as well. Three seems to be his lucky number for him.
Someone who has helped shape him into the person he is today was, in fact, Mrs. Wilber.
“In watching Mrs. Wilber coach, both as a swimmer and then as an assistant coach, I learned patience,” he said.
He reminisces watching her teach struggling swimmers with calmness and tolerance. This observation was taken to heart and has been used throughout his 17 years of coaching and 12 years as a computer teacher.
His enjoyment of and positivity towards life itself is evident through his teaching and coaching.
“You have the rest of life to work and only these four years of high school. Make the most of it,” he said.
As time goes by, people change as do their viewpoints and opinions, but as for these Charter Oak alumni, their love for their high school has remained.