Courtesy of Laurie Jocham
The 2019-2020 academic school year has come to an end. Along with the graduating Class of 2020, three teachers, who have decided to retire at the end of this school year, are looking forward to starting a new chapter in their lives.
The first teacher retiring is English teacher, Laurie Jocham, who taught for 34 years, the last 11 years at Godinez Fundamental High School.
Jocham taught at McFadden Intermediate School and Villa Fundamental Intermediate School, before she was given the opportunity to work at Godinez when the principal at Villa left to become the principal at Godinez. Jocham had always wanted to teach at a high school because she believes she gets to see students grow daily.
When Jocham first walked onto GFHS campus, she fell in love with every aspect of it. She was welcomed and liked the students and teachers that she worked with.
Now as she says her goodbyes, she feels well taken care of and continuously supported by the staff and students.
Jocham hurts most for the seniors because they are not getting their moment. They missed their end of the year senior activities that include: college signing day, prom, and their graduation. These special moments were really important to Jocham when she was their age and she believes that’s one of the biggest reasons why she enjoys working at a high school.
As a teacher, a highlight for Jocham was last year when she saw both her former high school students graduate from college and her high school students graduate during the same year.
She has enjoyed being able to form relationships with students.
“One specific memory for me was when my first group of AVID students had a birthday party for me off of campus with a piñata and they gave me a scrapbook where each of them had written me a letter,” said Jocham.
With all the technology and new challenges, Jocham couldn’t have survived the last few years without teachers Luke MacLennan and Suzanne Pruden.
“I will really miss our lunchtime talks with Mrs. MacLennan, Mrs. Conner, and Mrs. Evans,” said Jocham.
Overall, knowing that her students become successful is something she will miss. She’s sad she will lose contact with people that she really cared about and were important to her. Students who come back to thank her and hearing her name chanted in the quad is something she will never forget.
After retiring, Jocham looks forward to traveling, spending time with her husband and grandchildren, and caring for her new puppy, Bailey.
After teaching 20 years, 11 of those at Godinez, our next teacher retirement is social science teacher and cheer advisor, Victoria Evans.
Evans began teaching history because she wanted to instill curiosity in her students about civilizations and political institutions that she thought was interesting to learn.
Evans said that Godinez was different from any other school because it has impressive leadership and the staff works extremely hard to make Godinez a great school academically, athletically, and creatively.
A highlight at Godinez for Evans was the day after the November 2016 election because she was shocked by the results that President Donald Trump had won. Evans said it was a memorable moment because the entire class hugged her and comforted her.
Evans said that she will miss talking to her students and the congeniality of being at Godinez.
“I serve with teachers who work to help students succeed and with students who overwhelmingly put in their best effort, are respectful, creative, and humorous,” added Evans.
After retirement, Evans looks forward to a slower pace, spending time with her family, and taking advantage of church and volunteer opportunities.
Evans is grateful for the supporting staff at Godinez as well as Christy Connor, and Laurie Jocham for being genuinely supportive colleagues and friends.
She’d like to give a shout out to the leadership teams, the department chairs because they are focused on student achievement, and Aron Kaye for collaboration and inspirational assignments for AP European History.
“It has been both a pleasure and an honor to be a teacher at Godinez,” said Evans.
Lastly, graphic design and animation teacher, Francene Beaman, who taught for 20 years, seven of those at Godinez, is excited to start a new chapter in her life.
Beaman has been drawing since the age of 12 years old. She hadn’t thought of becoming a teacher but what interested her was a
television commercial she saw about computer generated animation.
She has taught at four different high schools, but said that Godinez picked her to start the animation program.
“Godinez is the most supportive and professional school I’ve ever taught at,” said Beaman.
Her favorite memory at Godinez was when former student, Angel Galindo, won Animator of the Year. She describes him as a smart and brilliant student and that when she had him speak to her class, they loved his work.
She will miss her students because they kept her up on all the latest technology and kept her mind sharp. She worries about them like they’re her own kids.
Beaman is an artist on the side and does artwork for other people. However, she does plan to come back in six months to work a part-time job as a substitute teacher.
Beaman looks forward to traveling with her husband. And because of Galindo, she wants to develop computer lesson plans for special education students because it’s a great form of communication.
Beaman would like to thank the whole staff for being supportive, especially Felipe Zamudio for being a great supporter of teachers and Jeanette McMahon.
“I love how students are given the freedom to self advocate for their future. Godinez prepares students for life and it provides opportunities for them to have hands-on experience to get more involved in the field of interest that they have,” added Beaman.
On behalf of the Grizzly staff and students, we would like to thank Jocham, Evans, and Beaman for all their hard work and dedication they have put into this school. As the Class of 2020 starts their new chapter, we wish our newly retired teachers happiness in their next exciting chapter.