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WJBD - Local News - Centralia High Honors Three Retirees

Mark Beckmeyer, Sue Settle, and Don Walker (left to right), with their plaques from the Board of Education. Settle is also holding a special plaque for creating the stained glass Oprhan window. Photo by Tim Ferguson.

Superintendent Chuck Lane presented this plaque from the Board of Education to Sue Settle in appreciation of her creation of the stained glass Orphan window. Photo by Tim Ferguson.

Centralia High Honors Three Retirees

By Tim Ferguson, WJBD News

The end of the school year normally brings thoughts of summer vacation and time away from school for both students and faculty, but, for three Centralia High School teachers, with a combined total of 104 years in education, the end of this particular school year also marks  the end of their career. 

Centralia High honored Math teacher Mark Beckmeyer, History teacher Sue Settle, and Driver’s Education instructor Don Walker at it’s annual retirement reception Wednesday.  Beckmeyer is retiring after 35 years in education, the last 28 at Centralia; Settle is finishing a 34 year career in teaching, spending the last 18 at Centralia, and Walker is retiring with 35 years in education, 24 of which has been at CHS. 

Leaving a profession they know and love is hard for all three as they all indicated during their chance to address the group.

Beckmeyer noted that he has always felt teaching is a calling. “I think teachers are a very special breed,.  I think teachers are called into this profession.  No, this isn’t just a job.  I think we are a, hopefully, we are all a dedicated group of people that believe in service and sacrifice.  One adage I’ve always hated to hear is, and I won’t repeat all of it because I’ve always hated it, ‘those who can do and….’ you can fill in the rest, because I really feel it should really go something like this: ‘Those who can do, and those who want others to be able to be able to achieve great things and make the most of their lives, teach,” said Beckmeyer.  

Settle isn’t sure yet what she is going to do after retirement, and thanked the high school as well as the faculty and staff for the opportunity to grow and excel but wasn’t sure how to answer the retirement question. “What are you going to do when you retire?  And I don’t know.   All I’ve ever done is go to school, and finally after fifty years, I’m out.  But, I’m going to miss the comadradrie of the staff here at CHS.  If felt like I got a chance to be an adult teacher here. I spent a lot of good  years at Sandoval.  I’m really looking forward to doing something that doesn’t involve school,” said Settle. 

Walker thanked one of his own high school counselors, who was in attendance, for guiding him into teaching and coaching, noting that a teacher many times will never know the positive effect they have on students.  “Counselors, teachers, all of you guys here, you never know, you never one that one word, that one thing that you say to that one boy or girl here that’s going to propel them in their life, and Rich (Richard Rich) did that for me,” said Walker.  

Beckmeyer, Settle and Walker have yet to decide what they will do in retirement but realize that when August comes, not going back to school will be hard.   Beckmeyer’s wife, Debbie, is also retiring this year from Central City Grade School, while Walker’s wife, Mary, will be retiring from Salem Community High School. 

Superintendent, Chuck Lane, also revealed a special plaque at the reception, entitled “Up and In”, from the Board of Education, recognizing Sue Settle for the replica Orphan stained glass window she created and is now hanging in the lobby of the CHS Sports Arena.  The original Orphan stained glass window could not be moved to the new high school when it opened, and Settle created the replica as a thank you to the school for her time there.

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