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As teachers who spent their entire careers at Bement Schools, Barb Beals, Barb Walters and Tonya Flavin etched themselves on the minds of many young students in the Piatt County school district before retiring last May.
Now they can be remembered in a different way, by students who lounge at an outdoor picnic table they made possible with cooperation from the high school production technology class.
Flavin has especially long ties to the community, having graduated from Bement High School in 1974, then embarking on a 35-year teaching career in town.
“Being an alum, I wanted to do something for the school and asked Barb (Beals) and Barb (Waters) if they were interested, and they thought it would be a great idea,” said Flavin.
“We all taught here over our whole teaching career, which is unusual,” pointed out Beals of the trio who retired at the same time.
The job was somewhat of a challenge for Dave Salefski’s production technology class.
“We found out it involves a lot of 22 1/2-degree angles,” joked Salefski.
But he added it helped students use their minds as well as their hands.
“They learned a lot of problem-solving, because we didn’t have plans. We measured from an old table, and used that for the new one,” he said.
The retired teachers donated the money to purchase the materials, and the seven-member class did the rest, using an assembly-line approach to get the job done in about 20 class periods.
Last Thursday (Dec. 6), students hauled the table – complete with the engraved names of the donors – from the shop outside to be used by students of all ages.
“We’re thrilled. You couldn’t have done a better job,” said Beals.
Beals, Waters and Flavin came up with the idea shortly before the end of the 2011-12 school year. Salefski was on board right away, but needed to work it into the course curriculum.