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Bye Bye Blue Jays

The Bell highlights teachers who are leaving.

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Dennis Blochinger

PLTW teacher

Years at LHS: 30

Photo by Connor Callahan

Industrial technology teacher Dennis Blochlinger has been a high school teacher since 1988.

   “When I first started teaching, the building that we have now did not exist, it was more of an open concept. All the classrooms were open and configured around the library and the only thing teachers had between them and the next room was a curtain,” Blochlinger said.

    Blochlinger says that he didn’t know what profession he wanted until he completed two years of junior college and two years of bible college.

       “By the end of that, I didn’t feel I was being called into the church ministry,” Blochlinger said. “I felt like God was telling me that my path was education.” And education is what he pursued. After school and getting a job at LHS he had insecurities about his decision to teach.

   “I was your average new teacher, still trying to get a handle on the curriculum, trying to balance 24 students in every hour, it was a lot,” Blochlinger said.“I spent my first year wondering if teaching was for me.”

   It’s safe to say that Blochlinger made the best decision for himself. He said it will be hard for him to leave.

   “My favorite thing is just being around people, I feel like I’m connected with life. The students keep you young, I enjoy them,” Blochlinger said.

 

Jessica Cordonier

Yearbook and ELA

Years at LHS: 2

Photo by Ashley Ritter

   In the two years teacher Jessica Cordonier has been at LHS, she has gotten very close to her students on yearbook staff and her English II classes.

   “My favorite thing about LHS has been the students, who I have learned a great deal from,” Cordonier said. “They are kind, dedicated, compassionate and passionate.”

   From the moment Cordonier started teaching at LHS she has felt welcome and she  enjoys everything about being here.

   “There are so many great things about teaching at LHS, too many to name!” Cordonier said.

   One of Cordonier’s favorite parts about being at LHS is seeing the pages of the yearbook grow. There is a huge change in product from the beginning of the year to the end.

   Although it saddens her to think about leaving, Cordonier is taking a position at Lee’s Summit High School. It will be easier for her to get there every morning since it’s only 10 minutes from her house. Cordonier knows that her life will change a lot, but she is open to what is coming for her.

   “I think it will be an adjustment but I am really excited for the new adventure in life,” Cordonier said. “It is also very bittersweet because I have truly loved my time at LHS.”

 

Laura Matson

Math teacher

Years at LHS: 20

Photo by Ashley Ritter

   Liberty High School is saying goodbye to 20-year math teacher Laura Matson, who has done everything under the sun for the school, from teaching to coaching.

   “I’ve taught all math classes except for probability and statistics,” Matson said. “When I first came here, I coached eighth grade volleyball. Years later, I coached varsity track.”

    Matson’s love for teaching is so evident, it is surprising she hasn’t always known what she wanted to do for a living. Matson started out in a completely different field than the one she would actually work in.

   “I actually started as a business major in school,” Matson said. “Then I realized there was no way I was going to sit behind a desk and do that boring work everyday. And I love math, so I decided to teach it,” Matson said.

   As with most teachers, Matson has made many memories at this school and will miss seeing her students grow throughout the years.

   “It’s a good school, great people to work with, and great teachers, I’ve gained some close friends just from teaching here. The kids are nice,” Matson said. “Everybody has their up and downs but overall the student body is great.”

 

Greg Casel

Counselor

Years at LHS: 21

Photo by Connor Callahan

   It all started in 1990: Greg Casel had just graduated from the University of Iowa, he was moving into Liberty and would soon begin his job at the districts central office.

   But it didn’t stop there for Casel, because in August of 1997 he began counseling at LHS. Casel describes LHS as the perfect fit for him. When he was looking for schools to work at, he created a list of criteria for his dream position.

   “I put that it would be in a smaller town or suburb, outside of a bigger city, in the midwest, in a town that had a very cohesive feel, one that was a good school district,” Casel said. “Looking back on what I wrote, it has always fit that curriculum perfectly.”

   Since Casel began, a lot of things have changed for him.

   “When I first came in, I only saw things through the eyes of students because I only had one child.” Casel said. “Now that I have three children, I also see things from the perspective of a parent.”

   There are still numerous chapters left in Casel’s career. He is planning to take his experience to help students at the new Olathe West High School in Kansas. Although he has plans for another school, he says he will still miss LHS.

   “It is a strange feeling to retire because this is the only school district I’ve worked in,” Casel said. “It’s really strange to be leaving, I will definitely miss the relationships with the faculty, staff and administration.”

 

Angie Klein

Computer Science teacher

Years at LHS: 10

Photo by Ashley Ritter

   Angie Klein has done quite a bit while developing the technology courses in Liberty. For the last several years, she has split her days between LHS and North. When she first got to the school, her program was a lot different.

   “The only computer class we had was Web Development and then we added another one called Network Design,” Klein said.

   Five classes were eventually added to the technology department. She started working full time in Liberty and then took over at Liberty and Liberty North.

   “There’s no way I can cover another class between the two buildings,” Klein said. “We need a full time person at both buildings.”

   Klein will take on a full time job at North. One of her favorite memories at LHS is sponsoring the Technology for Tomorrow club.

   “That group did a lot of outreach right after we got the one to one computers. They helped students use their devices during Liberty Hour,” Klein said, “I was very proud of them. It was all their idea.”

   Klein said she will not forget her time here.

   “It was my first experience teaching in a high school,” Klein said. “I will always remember it.”

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Bye Bye Blue Jays