Friday, March 25, 2011

"You Can't Make This Stuff Up..."

Mr. Reichard and Mr. Miklos
 Ridgway Area School District will be losing an informal institution due to the retirement of two friends in the Middle School. Mr. Miklos and Mr. Reichard have been teaching special education together for over 30 years with the last 16 in the Middle School. Combined, Mr. Miklos and Mr. Reichard have served the students at Ridgway for 75 years. They have been working across the hall from each other in the middle school for the last 16 years. I had an opportunity to sit down with them to ask them about their careers at Ridgway.

Mr. Miklos has been teaching in Ridgway for 38 years. He started at the Walnut Street school for a short while before moving into the “new” middle school. For the first 28 years Mr. Miklos worked for the Intermediate Unit and was assigned to Ridgway. When the school district took over the special education responsibilities ten years ago he officially became a Ridgway employee. A California (Pa) University graduate, Mr. Miklos grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and was a substitute teacher in Pittsburgh for a short while before moving to Ridgway. When he first came to Ridgway he was teaching elementary students, “I was used to substituting in Pittsburgh school district at the high school level and when I came here I had all of these little children and I was afraid I was going to lose one of them!” The transition from an urban area to a rural area was made easier by the people he met here, “I have met a lot of nice people in this area. Everyone has been real nice”.

Mr. Reichard grew up in Milton, Pa and received his special education degree from Lock Haven University. Mr. Reichard taught for one year in Bradford and two years in St. Marys before moving permanently to Ridgway. He too worked for the Intermediate Unit until 10 years ago. He developed and taught the emotional support class in Ridgway for ten years. Mr. Reichard has also been the school district’s point person for our GED program and our incarcerated youth instructor for many years. Of his experiences in his 37 years as a teacher Mr. Reichard says “You can’t make this stuff up!”

The school district will feel a significant loss when Mr. Miklos and Mr. Reichard retire. Their presence at the end of the hall always brightened up the school. They were always ready with a story or a laugh. For example, Mr. Miklos told me, “Do you know I have eaten lunch with Mr. Reichard more than my wife?” I guess that happens when you work so closely with someone over that many years! Mr. Miklos and Mr. Reichard come from a generation of teachers that were passionate about their jobs. The caring and passion for students is still evident in the way these two do business every day. I have an incredible amount of respect for all educators that have spent their career serving the students, but I feel a special admiration for Irv and Al because of the professionalism and passion that they still show for their children. I wish you both a happy retirement…you have earned it!

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