By: Evan Dile
This year, we have said goodbye to several longtime members of the CG community, including English Teacher Ann Miller, Media Specialist Gigi Shook, Cafeteria worker Wilmus Russell, Guidance Counselor Jean Welton, Social Studies Department Chair Ivan Smith, and Social Studies teacher John Frank. Of these legends, only Frank is finishing up his classroom teaching career in May.
John Frank, who has taught here for 29 years, is ready to move on to the next stage in his life: retirement.
On May 27, Frank had only a couple of days left to teach. His room had been slowly cleared out day by day, and he had transitioned from his usual button-down and dress pants attire to a Hawaiian short sleeve and khaki pants.
“I found this shirt at Goodwill for only 99 cents, and I decided I might as well become a stereotypical retiree,” Frank said to his class when someone noticed his change of dress.
Frank has seen many changes in Center Grove throughout his 29 year-long career here. Most notably, he said that Center Grove, as an entire district, has become less personal and more institutionalized.
“As we grow, our students know each other less, they know their teachers less, and it’s rare to have a teacher for more than one class. In the old days, that was often the case, where you had a teacher for multiple classes,” Frank said.
He also sees changes in the relationships of teachers and administration as well.
“It’s just not as warm or close as it used to be,” Frank said.
Becoming more institutionalized and less personal is hard to avoid especially with the continuous growth of the school. Frank sees that Center Grove is trying to preserve personal relationships within the school through programs such as STaR.
According to Frank, it’s the students that he will miss the most.
“The vast majority of students are interesting, fun, motivated people, and I really appreciate what they do. After the first couple of months when they figure out that we are on their side, they really give you the benefit of the doubt, and that’s the joy of my job,” Frank said.
Frank has been involved thoroughly in Center Grove through many programs. He has coached freshman basketball, a year of track, a year of freshman football and for several years he sponsored the Bill of Rights competition in the building. Along with these, Frank has been the manager of the school’s archives, keeping Center Grove’s history organized and preserved.
Those activities have allowed Frank to know kids not only in the classroom but also beyond it.
“When you see a kid outside of school performing in something, whether intellectual, physical, or social, it’s different than the classroom relationship. These activities really help you see the breath of the person,” Frank said.
Even though Frank is leaving the school, he plans to stay in the area. He hopes to travel, spend time with carpentry work and most importantly, he hopes to spend of time with his grandchildren.
Even though Frank will be leaving, he put time and effort into finding the perfect person to fill his position. However, future students will miss out on the Frank era.
“To past, current, and future students: you and I live in the most prosperous and most powerful country that has ever existed in the history of man. There is such enormous opportunity here for those that are motivated. After all, why do so many people seek to come to the United States? Let us not forget that if we stay motivated, there is much opportunity. Take advantages of this opportunity and continue to work hard,” Frank said.