On Wednesday, June 4, at 2:00 p.m., there will be a tree planting ceremony to honor Social Studies Teacher Bob Ihrig’s 40 years of service as a teacher in Mankato Area Public Schools. For those interested in attending this ceremony, the tree will be planted toward the south side of the building on Stoltzman Avenue.
Ihrig’s 40 years of service at West have been rewarding. He said, “I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to serve the students, teachers, parents and community of District 77 as a classroom teacher, coach, and leader in curriculum and professional teacher activities. I have been allowed to use my talents and passion to make my mark and shape the lives of many. This has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I am not the same person I was 40 years ago when I started at West. It has been a wonderful journey that will be with me forever.”
Ihrig has particularly enjoyed the varied nature of teaching. He calls every day “a new adventure with opportunities and challenges to take on.” He appreciates the fact that boredom has never been an issue for him over the years. Ihrig said, ”I have truly enjoyed coming to West each day with anticipation and excitement about what would happen with students and colleagues.”
As Ihrig moves into retirement, he will remember both students and colleagues fondly. He explained, “The 6000+ students who have crossed my path during my 40 years will always be with me. I have been blessed to have taught and coached so many motivated and talented students in the classroom and in co-curricular activities. The opportunities to see them light up as they learn new knowledge and acquire new skills have been enriching.” Ihrig also has appreciated the “talented and fun-loving colleagues throughout the district” and said “the adult interaction has stimulated me over the years and added richness to my life.”
Leaving the classroom brings more freedom of time and schedule. Ihrig plans to spend more time with his wife, his five-month old grandson, his daughter and son-in-law, and his birth family in Switzerland and Germany. Additionally, he plans to travel around the United States to see both family and friends. Ihrig will continue working with the Minnesota State High School League as the manager of the state debate tournament and the assistant state speech tournament manager. He also plans to read, to cook, to be involved with his church, to judge speech, and to teach a debate class at Macalester College over the summer. Whatever the future holds for Ihrig, he would like “to take on new opportunities as well as maintaining current commitments that are important to me.”
For more information about the tree planting, call West High School at 387-3461.