13116486_1723312311251052_491036983612878498_oIt was a bittersweet night of joy, relief and sadness all mixed into one at the Annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner held at Plymouth High School Wednesday evening.

Ten Plymouth Community School Corporation employees will officially retire at the end of the month.

“The retirees represent a group of educators with a long history of distinguished careers, it’s our pleasure to honor this year’s retirees,” said Superintendent Dan Tyree at tonight’s event.

WTCA will highlight each of the retirees in the coming days.

Robert Pickell was hired by Webster Elementary in 2005. He has been teaching elementary music for 11 years and secondary music for 27 years. In total, he has been teaching for 38 years. Not only did he teach K-4 music, he has also served as the President and Vice President of the Plymouth Education Association.

Pickell’s reason for going into education was fueled by his love for music and working with young people. Which leads into what he will miss the most, that being the kids and his colleagues. Getting up early is definitely something he said he would not miss.

Out of all his years of teaching, one of the fondest memories he recalls vividly is a performance in the spring of 1988. Pickell said, “It involved my students joining the show choirs from Ft. Wayne High School, Southport High School, and the Ball State University Singers. This was for a political fundraiser at the Ft. Wayne Coliseum for Senator Dan Quayle. Senator Quayle’s guest speaker that evening was Vice President George H. W. Bush. Three months following that performance, Bush and Quayle would become the Republican nominees for President and Vice President and would be elected to those offices by the American people in November.”

Though he has truly enjoyed teaching career, he explained there are some things that trouble him about the way education has changed. “There are many things that have happened with public education in Indiana in the past 12 to 15 years that I do not perceive as positive for children. I feel badly that as I retire that I did not do more to effect change with how we educate children in our state. I hope that many of you younger teachers will pick up the banner of championing what is right and best for children,” Pickell said.

When this school year ends, he said he plans to enjoy his retirement waking up every morning by starting his day off with either a crossword puzzle or a Sudoku puzzle.