32 Years at Westminster High

After being asked by his students for several years, John Flater went to night school and took classes in Japanese.

Now, the Westminster High School teacher teaches German as well as Japanese.

"It is a lot of fun to do, and a lot of fun to teach," Flater said, of Japanese.

As to the future of the Japanese language course next year, Flater is unsure. He is retiring this year, after 32 years of teaching at the school from which he graduated.

Flater is happy he has been able to be a full-time German teacher for all those years at his alma matter.

"It is kind of unusual," he said. "Students have to want to take it. I've always appreciated when students signed up for my classes."

Ten years ago, Flater was awarded a grant to create a small computer lab in his classroom.

"We have everything on computers now," Flater said. "It helps a lot."

Almost every other year, he has taken students abroad to visit countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria, where German is spoken.

"It's always nice to see how well-behaved our students are, compared with other parts of the country," Flater said.

He said he will miss his colleagues and students as well as the challenges of teaching.

"The great part of the job is finding new ways to do things," Flater said.

37 Years at North Carroll High

North Carroll High School has a good population of students, a good population of parents and is a nice place to be, according to Dick Weaver, who has taught agricultural science and special education and has acted as assistant principal on occasion at the school.

So it was not an easy decision for Weaver to retire after 37 years.

But it was time to move on, he said.

"It's time to get some new teachers in here," Weaver said. "I have no complaints. It's been good. Some years more trying than others, but I really never had a bad day."

One of his former students, Aaron Geiman, became one of his colleagues in the agriculture department.

In an e-mail, Geiman wrote, "Mr. Weaver has not only been an educational mentor to me, but also a second father. Unlike many late career educators, he continues to seek change and modernization in his teaching strategy and educational approach. ... He has pushed me to strive for excellence through dynamic means, rather than stagnancy. He helped to groom and to mold me into a progressive educational thinker and instilled in me a sense of looking to the future to stay ahead of those stuck in the past."