Tuesday, December 7, 2010
PERRYDALE -- After about a quarter of a century of hosting senior lunches, corn feeds, Halloween caroling and planning the shenanigans that is Ag Olympigs, Mr. Perrydale -- agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Kirk Hutchinson -- is stepping down.
He is retiring Feb. 1, with his last day in class at Perrydale School being Jan. 28.
Hutchinson said he had been considering retirement for a few years and decided this summer to submit his resignation, which he did earlier in the year.
He said taking his leave after the conclusion of 2010 allowed him to begin the school year and help with the transition to a new agricultural teacher.
"I just thought it was the right time to retire," he said.
Before accompanying a group of students to FFA's National Convention Oct. 20-23, Hutchinson presented information and ideas for the future of the school FFA chapter to the Perrydale School Board and administration.
He said he would assist in any way possible in the search for the teacher who will take his place.
Hutchinson took over as chapter advisor in the mid-1980s.
In that time, the chapter has won numerous awards for its community service efforts, including its annual Food for All food drive, annual Corn Feed, Ag Olympigs, senior teas, homeless dinners, and blood drives, among other events.
The chapter also logged the most hours of any in the social and human service category of FFA's national Million Hour Challenge in 2009, putting in more than 32,000 hours during the year.
For the most part, each activity has grown and incorporated components of "service learning," or learning by doing. Hutchinson values that as the most effective form of education and, therefore, stressed having members of the FFA chapter focus on community outreach and serving others.
He said community service had been a focus at Perrydale and FFA before he took on the program.
"As a community, we value that service and I expect a lot of that will stay," Hutchinson said.
That said, he hopes to see the program built around the strengths of the new advisor and the students in FFA.
Hutchinson said he is proud to have been able to have an impact on his students' lives and provide experiences that taught them the value of community and giving back.
"It's been absolutely fantastic to be part of the community," Hutchinson said.
Perrydale is currently searching for a teacher to fill the position.