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The student news site of Baldwin High School

The Purbalite

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The Purbalite

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3 longtime teachers prepare for retirement

Baldwin+High+School+serves+the+Baldwin%2C+Whitehall%2C+and+Baldwin+Township+communities.
Evelyn Esek
Baldwin High School serves the Baldwin, Whitehall, and Baldwin Township communities.

The end of the school year is bittersweet for everyone: seniors have put their handprints up in the stairwell; state and Advanced Placement tests are over; and both students and staff have begun to make plans for summer. 

As students prepare for their transition to the next school year, three staff members prepare for their own departure from Baldwin High School. Each of them has had their own impact on Baldwin students and the school’s culture

Click on the infobox below to learn more about each teacher and their retirement plans.

Retiring Teachers
Daniel Shaner
Shaner has helped organize many trips for high school and middle school students alike
Shaner has helped organize many trips for high school and middle school students alike (Rachael Bonneau)

In his 35 years of teaching, gifted education teacher Dan Shaner has survived the emotional times by balancing them with lighthearted fun.

Shaner started his career teaching in Baltimore city schools before moving to Baldwin in 1994. In his 30 years at Baldwin, he has taught middle school English and most recently gifted education.

As an educator, he has seen his students reach high levels of success after graduation.

“It is not my fault that they are so good. They do that on their own,” Shaner said. “The fact that one of their stepping stones has my name on it is very cool.”

Shaner has been the sponsor for Baldwin’s chapter of the LIGHT Education Initiative for the last four years. This club, composed of high school students and some middle-schoolers, has run the annual Vigil for Victims of Identity-Based Violence as well as other social-justice oriented activities. 

As one of the gifted education teachers, Shaner has helped organize many trips for high school and middle school students alike, acting as a teacher and mentor for gifted students in grades 6-12. 

Spending that much time working with young people can be hard on anyone. His advice to teachers? Never grow up. 

“When we start taking ourselves too seriously, we lose the kids,” he said. “We are here because of the kids, and we have to be able to relate to them. When we get too serious, they can’t relate to us.”

However, the years have brought their fair share of tragedy to Shaner. 

“When I was teaching eighth grade in Baltimore, I had six eighth-grade students die in five years,” he said. “Since I’ve come to Baldwin, I’ve had three students pass.”

Shaner has dealt with the emotions of the by keeping his life lighthearted, including taking his dog on “wild rumpuses” – adventures to the named waterfalls in the continental United States. 

In his retirement, Shaner plans to “keep learning, keep teaching, and keep chasing waterfalls,” he said.

Donna Vecchio
Vecchio thinks kindly of her time in education, but acknowledges that leaving is still bittersweet.
Vecchio thinks kindly of her time in education, but acknowledges that leaving is still bittersweet. (Aria Majcher)

In her 38 years in education, math teacher Donna Vecchio has taught through local challenges like the reconstruction of Baldwin High School to global setbacks like the Covid pandemic. She taught in New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, and for two decades, Baldwin. 

Through it all, she said, the mission has remained consistent. 

“Technology has impacted a lot of everything. But even with all of these new initiatives, teaching is still teaching,” Vecchio said. 

Vecchio had originally planned on going into nursing, but after she started college, she reminisced about her high school teachers and that reignited her passion for helping kids – and teaching them math as well. 

Vecchio has taught algebra and geometry throughout all of her time at Baldwin, but the most impactful class for her has been College Algebra. 

“That course is preparing those students for college, because they will take that same course their first semester, and so I am preparing them for something that they will do in the future,” Vecchio said. 

Her most prominent memories come from interacting with and helping students, working alongside administrators and coworkers, and attending some interesting math department meetings, she said. 

If Vecchio could go back to give advice to herself as she was beginning her education journey, it would be to relax. 

“Everything will work out. Relax and be flexible,” Vecchio said. 

Following her retirement, Vecchio plans on continuing to support Ohio State football, travel with her husband on baseball scouting trips, and sit by the pool and read. 

While reaching the home stretch of her time at Baldwin, Vecchio thinks kindly of her time in education, but acknowledges that leaving is still bittersweet. Still, she can think of one thing that she won’t get nostalgic about.

“I will not miss driving to school at 5:30 a.m. and then getting the phone call from Supt. Dr. Lutz that it is a snow day and we are remote,” Vecchio said

Mary Ann Zegeer
Zegeer has no immediate plans for how to spend her retirement years
Zegeer has no immediate plans for how to spend her retirement years

As Mary Ann Zegeer looks back over her teaching career, she can’t help but reference a math concept.

“I enjoy doing what I’m doing. It’s been a great district to work for over the years,” Zegeer said. “Like anything else, there are roller coaster ups and downs. But overall, as we say in Stats, on average, it was great. I feel privileged to work here.”

Working with students, fellow teachers, and administrators has made teaching a great experience, she said.

The most engaging part about teaching is “seeing somebody really learn something and understand it, and being able to use it and apply it,” Zegeer said.

Zegeer has been a teacher for 36 years and worked at Baldwin for 31 of those years. She has taught algebra, trigonometry, statistics, and some physics classes.

Through her years as a teacher, teaching math and physics have changed the most because of the increase in teaching resources, she said.

Zegeer has no immediate plans for how to spend her retirement years, but she might express her inner creative side. 

“I was almost going to be an art teacher, so I’m thinking I might try to go that path, something creative and artsy,” she said. “But no definite plans – I just want to decompress from 36 years of teaching,” she said.

Overall, Zegeer has found Baldwin to be an amazing place, and she has enjoyed her time teaching.

“It’s one of the most rewarding careers you can have because you have a chance to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small or how large. You really don’t realize how much impact you have as a teacher on a student,” she said. “Hopefully all teachers remember that. It’s been a rewarding career.”

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About the Contributors
Rachael Bonneau
Rachael Bonneau, News Editor
News Editor Rachael Bonneau is a senior and a second-year staff member. If she’s not at the library, she’s probably playing video games with her friends.
Aria Majcher
Aria Majcher, Entertainment Editor
Entertainment Editor Aria Majcher is a senior in her second year on the Purbalite. If she’s not spending all of her money at a record store, it’s probably because she’s spending all of her money at a concert. 
Raven Spano
Raven Spano, Staff Writer
Senior Raven Spano is a second-year Staff Writer. They can be found writing stories, playing video games, or serving as copy editor of the Yearbook.
Evelyn Esek
Evelyn Esek, News Editor
News Editor Evelyn Esek is a senior and a third-year member of the Purbalite. She is in the BHS color guard and loves knitting and crocheting, collecting vinyl records, and listening to music.
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