The student publication of Fort Zumwalt West High School

The Solitaire

The student publication of Fort Zumwalt West High School

The Solitaire

The student publication of Fort Zumwalt West High School

The Solitaire

Saying Goodbye to Teachers

Educators retiring from their career
Photos by Wagner Photography
Keith DeShurley, Michael DeYoung, Alice Klem and Mark Olsen in their yearbook photos.

Keith DeShurley
DeShurley is currently a physical education (PE) teacher, as well as a coach. However, he has not always been in the PE subject.

“[Originally], I taught social studies–government, in particular–for 25 years,” DeShurley said. “I really enjoyed that subject greatly, and wouldn’t have changed a thing. I did get into PE at the end of my career, and that has been a nice change. When you get into education, you don’t always get to choose what you initially teach. It depends on what’s available within the subject area at the school in which you get a job.”

With the 2023-2024 school year being his 29th year of teaching, DeShurley has decided that it is his time for retirement.

“It’s just the right time for me,” DeShurley said. “If I had to narrow it down to one [reason], it’s that darn alarm that goes off every morning at 5:15 am.”

After retirement, DeShurley plans to continue with activities and take on aspirations he and his wife have been waiting to do.

“My wife and I would like to travel more, especially in the winter when it’s really cold here,” DeShurley said. “I’m not the ‘sit around and do nothing’ type. Some things I’ve thought about is coaching, subbing or maybe even [working] at a golf course.”

With being a teacher for such a lengthy duration, it may be inevitable that it is going to be missed.

“There is no doubt [that] I will miss teaching,” DeShurley said. ”When you do something for that long, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. It’s who I am, and who I’ve always been. I will miss seeing all the friends I’ve made. I will miss the interactions with students. Teaching has given me so much over the years, and I will forever be thankful.”

Michael DeYoung
DeYoung is a history teacher, and he has been a teacher for about 39 years. Throughout his career, DeYoung has worked at a multitude of schools. These schools are the Schweinfurt High School in Germany, Buena High School in Arizona, Mount Clemens High School and Cranbrook Middle School in Michigan, Wright City High School and Fort Zumwalt West High School. From the beginning of his career to now, things have changed.

“I began teaching with a chalkboard, and now I am using a computer,” DeYoung said.

Despite his long record of instructing, DeYoung did not always plan to be a teacher.

“[I] started as a Criminal Justice major, [and I] wanted to work in law enforcement,” DeYoung said. “[I] switched to education because of the opportunity to coach.”

Regardless of his original career plan, DeYoung’s subject of choice for teaching has been consistent.

“[It has] always been social studies,” DeYoung said.

But when looking back on his career, if DeYoung could go back in time and change anything, what would he change?

“I think I would enlist in the Navy, and eventually become a Navy Seal,” DeYoung said. “And then [I] would become a teacher.”

Alice Klem
Klem is currently a science teacher and has been instructing since 1992.

“I have been at West High since it opened in 1998,” Klem said. “Before that, I was at Fort Zumwalt North Middle School for two years and Fort Zumwalt North High School for three years as a science teacher.”

Klem’s career as an educator is one that she enjoyed, and there are things about the job that she will always remember.

“I will miss teaching because I love it,” Klem said. “I love science and have enjoyed sharing my fascination with all things scientific with interested students.”

After she retires, there are hobbies that Klem is looking forward to pursuing.

“My husband has been retired for three years, and I want to join him,” Klem said. “I plan to read, make art, travel, cook, garden and volunteer.”

When reminiscing about her time in her job, Klem is fulfilled and appreciates the time she spent as a teacher.

“I would not change a thing about my career,” Klem said. “It has been a rewarding, challenging [and] enjoyable occupation.”

Mark Olson
Olson teaches several different classes, most of which have to do with engineering. After 24 years of teaching, he has decided to retire.

“My first three years were at Fredonia High School in New York, the next three years at North Star High School in Nebraska and the rest at West,” Olson said. “I also [have been] an adjunct professor [(a professor that does not work at the school full-time)] at St. Charles Community College for the past ten years.”

Throughout his teaching career, Olson has watched things change in the world around him and in the schools.

“When I started, cell phones were not around much, [but] they are now,” Olson said. “My first high school had green chalkboards, the dust made me cough and sneeze a lot. Technology as a whole has greatly affected how we teach in the engineering classes today versus when I first started. We have a lot of cool equipment to use [for educating] the students. [It is] crazy to think [about] if I would have had all of this when I first started.”

Overall, Olson has enjoyed his time as a teacher.

“It gives me the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of students,” Olson said. “Along with it is a rewarding profession where I can contribute to society and leave a lasting impact.”

In the end, once things have settled down for Olson, he will miss aspects of being a teacher.

“I will miss the relationships created with students and fellow teachers,” Olson said. “I will miss walking into my classroom, first thing in the morning, and the feeling of being at home, comfortable and energizing.”