By Sean Neary
“Once a Link, always a Link!” That’s what people say! When people graduate or leave LHS, their stories aren’t over. When staff retire, their stories don’t end, nor does their Lincoln High spirit. They still have plans to make use of their time.
French teacher Linda Graham-Rowe is moving to Delaware where her parents and sister live because her parents are getting into their mid and upper eighties and she wants to help them out and spend time with them. “It also happens to be half-an-hour from the ocean beach, but it means I’m leaving my kids and grandkids here, so it’s a hard decision,” Graham-Rowe said. Graham-Rowe also said that she may take a couple part-time jobs for extra money, but, overall, she’s planning on being “really retired.” “I want to continue to travel and hopefully travel even more,” Graham-Rowe said. “I want to do some writing. I am a photographer, so hopefully I’ll have time to pursue my photography more, and to do singing and music things.” Even after staff retire, having time for everything is still a struggle. Graham-Rowe said that she has been planning this a long time, so she will work to make extra travel money if she needs to. Other than that, she will just need to organize her time well and learn photoshop.
“I have lots of choices,”retiring IB Coordinator John Heineman said. “One of the things that I’m maybe looking at is going to OPS (Omaha Public Schools) and being a teacher. I want to make sure that I spend the last ten years of my regular working life in the classroom.” Heineman added that his goal in life won’t change when he retires. He still wants to keep improving. “My plan is to stay disciplined and stay focused on my goals,” Heineman said. Heineman also added that he has just started taking Spanish for the first time in his life and he wants to continue with what he calls “that kind of language acquisition.” Heinemann also wants to continue his adventure of travel, especially now that he has more time. “I’ve been to over 25 different countries, and I’d like to make that 50 before I die, so I’ll just look for opportunities and plan and save up money and go on my next adventure,” Heineman said.
Special Education English Teacher Tami Kaiser said that she has a motorhome and is excited to travel in it with her husband and their two dogs. “I want to do a lot of traveling,” Kaiser said. “I’d like to go back to Europe again and travel all the 50 states of the United States.” “I’ll have the time to do it now that I’ve retired, I’ve saved up some money and we have the motorcoach,” Kaiser said. “That’s how we plan on doing it.” Aside from the traveling, Kaiser will be spending time with her children and grandchildren and resume doing artwork. “The first thing I want to do is start spending more time taking care of myself and working out and getting in better shape,”
English Teacher Leann Hamby said. “I’m pretty healthy, but now I’m getting older and older so I want to make sure I take care of myself. I have three sons and they all live here, so I don’t want to move far away from them.” “I guess I’ll have to just start planning and take things one at a time,” Hamby said. “I want to try lots of things I’ve never done before.” Hamby also said that she wants to travel.
Special Education Teacher Constance Otoupalik, who has been a Lincoln High teacher for 15 years, noted that her lifelong goals are: To be a grandma, do a little bit of traveling, spend some time reading books, and do other things she just wants to do that she’s put off for a long time. “I plan to start on the 23rd and start doing some of the fun things I want to do,” Otoupalik said. “I’m going to do a little bit of traveling and see my kids, and then come back and start one room at a time, on my house.” Otoupalik also added that she will be teaching at Southeast Community College three nights a week for English As A Second Language.
Although retiring teachers often have plans of travel in their head, Special Education Social Studies Teacher Carole LeFeber has a different picture in mind. “My husband and I fly kites, so our lifelong goal, or dream, I should say, is to own a kite store,” LeFeber said. “My husband’s going to retire in another year, and we have to decide if we have enough money to live on, and then if we have enough money to buy a store and buy the inventory,” LeFeber said. “That’s how we’ll do it if we can get it done.” LeFeber is also planning on looking for a job at Southeast Community College. Counselor Virginia Saporta has the unique plan of contributing to the eradication of poverty in our community.
Special Ed. Para Gary Calhoun said that he has seen a lot of changes at Lincoln High over the fifteen years he’s been here and that he thinks they are probably for the better.
While retired teachers live their dreams, Lincoln High will be far from forgotten. “I’ve been at Lincoln High for 19 years, I’ve taught several different areas, and I’ve enjoyed it for the most part,” Kaiser said. “I still have friends here that are teaching for a few more years, and I have several students that are juniors this year and will be graduating next year, and so I want to come back and visit with them.” “I will miss a lot of things about Lincoln High. I’ve been here 24 years and it’s a wonderful place to work,” Hamby said. “I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.” “I think it really made me the good teacher that I am, and I say that without bragging because it’s Lincoln High, and Lincoln High demands the best out of people. I think that it’s done that for me, and so I’ve been very lucky to have colleagues who have been mentors along the way and other teachers who have helped me become a great, fine teacher. It’s been a great 30 years,” Heineman said. “I am going to miss everyone when I’m gone.” “I’ll still be a supportive Link, and hope to come back for some different things and happenings going on in the building,” Otoupalik said. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything.” “I’ve had a great time here,” LeFeber said, “I’ve only been at Lincoln High all my nineteen years in Lincoln Public Schools and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.” “I’m proud to leave two of my daughters teaching for LPS and one specifically down the hall, Katherine Garcia,” Graham- Rowe said. “She’ll still be Linked here and I’ll be back to visit. I’ll be back to visit Nebraska and Lincoln specifically every few months to see the kids and grandkids, so I will probably stop and visit the school as well.” “My favorite part about being at Lincoln High is working with wonderful teachers and meeting so many great kids,” Hamby said. “I guess there gets to be more and more paperwork at a time and that would probably be the thing I would like to get rid of,” Hamby said. “I value my association with LHS very much,” Saporta said. “It will always mean a lot to me.” “I think that once you’ve been here, you feel like part of the school,” Kaiser said. “I’m sure I’ll miss it, but on the other hand, I’ll sure be glad not to be up at 5 or 6 in the morning every day,” Calhoun said. “‘Once a Link, always a Link!’ and ‘Another Lincoln High job well done!’ will be a part of my vocabulary until the day I die,” Heineman said.