Veteran teacher plans retirement at BHS

Branden Alford, Editorial page Editor

Sophomore Colton Jackson gets some advice on an Ag Mechanics project he is working on. (PHOTO: Sarah Unruh)
Mike Thorne goes over an FFA competition during a monthly meeting, as Sawyer Young watches. (PHOTO: Sarah Unruh)

Teacher, dad, coach, adviser, fair board member… Mike Thorne has done a little of everything in his time at Burlington High School. At the end of this school year, Mr. Thorne has decided to retire after 35 years of dedication. In his time here, Thorne has worn many hats. For example, he was an assistant to girls softball, wrestling, girls and boys track, and basketball, and the head coach of wrestling, JV football, seventh grade football, and varsity football. He has clearly spent a lot of time on the courts and fields showing his passion for sports and the kids competing. As the FFA advisor for 35 years, Mr. Thorne has put in many hours riding school buses. This, he says, is what he will not miss one bit. In FFA, he saw his passion for teaching and his passion for farming combined into one amazing experience. He said FFA is hard for him to leave. When this reporter asked about his reason for going this year, he responded with “I had always planned on teaching for 35 years. Now that I have accomplished my goal, it is time to leave and find my next challenge.” Both staff members and students will miss him. Sandy Loucks, English teacher, said, “What I remember most about Mike is that he always cleaned up any left over food in the teacher’s lounge. There was never any waste.” Along those same lines, Helen Hoch, FBLA advisor said, “Whenever he brought food into the teachers lounge, it was fantastic.” Harison Rohrer, junior, remembers a huge breakfast feast at the end of the school year last year in Mr. Thorne’s room. Payton Beyer, senior, said that not all the memories revolve around food. “One time a towel caught fire in a chair in the shop. It was interesting watching him scramble around once he noticed the fire trying to put it out.” Colton Jackson, sophomore, walks into Mr. Thorne’s room every day with a smile expecting the inevitable daily cartoons to come across the smart board. “I think the class favorite is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” he said with a grin. Hall-mate Dave Sloop noted thatMr. Thorne was known for his daily Words of Wisdom. He also mentioned their between-class talks about farming, tractors, and wood-cutting. Despite not being a faculty member any longer, Mr. Thorne would love to come back and assist in coaching softball if the opportunity presents itself. On behalf of the entire CatTracks staff and the student body, thank you, Mr. Thorne for your dedication to education and Burlington kids. You will be missed.