Chiefs Say Goodbye to Tribal Elders

After 22 years at Santaluces and 36 as an educator, the voice students and teachers hear every morning doing the Pledge of Allegiance and morning announcements said goodbye to faculty Wednesday. At the yearly retirement celebration for retiring teachers, Mr. Krupa as well as 28-year teacher Mr. Lifson and and 30-year teacher Coach Leonard were honored with a custom rocking chair and the title of Tribal Elder. Other retirees included art teacher Mr. Terembes, teacher Mr. Fields, and Mrs. Harrington, the cafeteria manager who opened the school in 1982.

Mrs. Kouf, who organizes this event every year, led the celebration. Teachers gathered in the media center to honor the retirees and grad a piece of cake. During the celebration, each teacher received a custom rocking chair, hand-painted by senior Nicole Cohen. Each chair has a red, white, and black spear on the back, but Mr. Terembes, Nicole’s art teacher, got a mountain landscape on his.

Mrs. Harrington, who has been a Chief since the first day the school opened, was thankful for her time here. She was best known for always providing a meal to students, even when they couldn’t pay.

“It’s been a pleasure working here, ” she said. “I tried to do the very best I could for all the students. It was really important for them to eat because if they didn’t eat, they wouldn’t be able to learn.”

Coach Leonard serenaded the crowd with a rendition Goodnight Sweetheart and gave teachers advice about students: be firm and be fair.

“I never thought I would be teaching this long,” said Coach Leonard. “Santaluces has been my home for 30 years. And now, I’m going fishing.”

English and debate teacher Mr. Lifson has been a Chief for nearly three decades.

“After 28 years here, I don’t think I’m retiring, I think I’m finally graduating,” said Lifson.

Mr. Terembes also thanked teachers for his time as a Chief.

“This is the best school I’ve ever worked,” said Terembes. “I really appreciate the time I’ve been here.”

For Mr. Fields, the retirement celebration wasn’t the only one of the day.

“This is my 43rd wedding anniversary,” he said. “What a way to start it.”

Mr. Santaluces, as Mr. Krupa is called by many, gave his remarks last.

“This is my second home,” said Mr. Krupa after teachers gave him a standing ovation. Mr. Krupa gave one of his inspirational and funny speeches, poking fun at administrators and his fellow retiring teachers.

Mrs. Kouf left the retirees with a final thanks.

“Hopefully we can continue the level of excellence that you guys set,” said Mrs. Kouf.

But the afternoon wasn’t over until Mr. Ramos offered his goodbye to Mr. Krupa. Even though he could not attend the celebration, Mr. Ramos sent a video slide show set to the song “Drink a Beer ” by Luke Bryan, one of Mr. Krupa’s favorite singers. The slide show featured pictures of Mr. Krupa through the years and ended with a touching line: “So long, my friend. Until we meet again…”

Although Mr. Krupa is not allowed to come back for one year because of state rules about retirement, Mrs. Robinson has said she plans to bring him back for the 2017-2018 school year.