Looking back on two epic careers at Sunset Middle School
April 27, 2018
How do you capture the careers of two teachers whose combined experience totals over 50 years of teaching at Sunset Middle School? It’s a challenge to do in just a few paragraphs.
This May, longtime Sunset Middle School teachers Laura Lewis (drama) and Myron Whisman (band) will be saying good-bye to students, parents and colleagues as they transition into retirement.
Laura Lewis went into teaching because her father was a junior high school teacher, and she saw firsthand the importance of working with kids as they transition into young adults. She began her career at Longmont Junior High School, now Sunset Middle School, as a language arts and computer science teacher. She recalls the changes she has witnessed throughout her career…LJHS had one of the first computer labs in the entire district – a huge difference from the individual student iPads, three computer labs and Chrome carts that Sunset has today.
She has seen the transformation at Sunset from woodworking shop and a home economics classroom – complete with sewing machines, to a full robotics lab. Lewis noted that one thing that hasn’t changed is the support of the community and the wonderful students she has been fortunate to teach at Sunset Middle School.
Myron Whisman recalled, as a student, that he didn’t always love being in band until LJHS got a new band teacher — Mr. Stollsteimer. It was Stollsteimer who changed Whisman’s views on band, and little did he know what impact that would have.
“I figured if I could influence people like he influenced me and my music, then that's what I wanted to do,” Whisman said. “So I became a band director.”
After college, Whisman student taught at Niwot High School and LJHS. A few years later when LJHS became Sunset Middle School, Mr. Whisman moved over to teach full time. Like Lewis, the biggest change Whisman has seen over the years is in technology. He looks back to when parents saved King Soopers receipts in order to get one free Apple computer — a first for a band teacher.
Lewis and Whisman are looking forward to traveling and learning new hobbies as they transition into retirement.
“Myron and Laura have selflessly served Sunset Middle School for decades,” Assistant Principal Sara Olson said. “Their passion for education have made this school what it is. The thousands of students who have been lucky enough to have them as teachers will remember their spirited dedication.”
“The next best thing to being able to teach, is to work with colleagues like Mr. Whisman and Ms. Lewis, whose commitment to bringing out the best in every student is awe inspiring,” Principal Dawn Macy said. “Through my 22-year tenure at Sunset, it's Mr. Whisman and Ms. Lewis I've counted on whenever I needed a pulse of things going on. They have been my rocks, and the entire school community.”
Lewis would like to leave her students with these thoughts:
“This is the time to dream about your future and to make those dreams big, then do everything you can to make it happen. Take advantage of every opportunity our school has to offer...great, caring teachers and varied after-school activities for everyone.”
Whisman would like to leave his students with these thoughts:
“From all the lessons that I've learned over the years, it would be the much loved cliché of Carpe Diem! Don't put off anything that you can do today. It’s sometimes the littlest things that make the biggest difference. Say please and thank you. Smile a lot. Laugh a lot. Hold the door for people. Tell the important people in your life just how much they mean to you. You can never have too many friends. When you see something beautiful, stop what you are doing and really look at it. When you see trash on the ground, pick it up and throw it away. And finally, don't be afraid to show your emotions, they are what makes us human.”
Throughout the years, Sunset Middle School students have been given the gift of learning under these two much-loved teachers, who will be greatly missed as they explore the next chapter of their lives.