When you have a program at school that has 100 percent participation from the 7th grade class...the 8th grade class...and the freshman class -- and 10th through 12th graders participate at a high level too -- you are doing something right.
And Beth Aufforth has certainly done that something VERY right.
That high level of participation is in speech at Bowbells-Burke Central.
But there is about to be a change at the top, because Mrs. Aufforth is retiring in just a few weeks.
Perry Olson takes us there today to meet her during her final days at Bowbells.
It's the end of an era here in Bowbells -- Mrs. Aufforth is retiring. The longtime teacher has done more than just teach in the classroom however...and the proof of that is hanging ALL OVER the room...
(Beth Aufforth - Retiring Bowbells Teacher) "You know once you start a successful program, the kids kind of breed off the success and expect to be successful and they work hard at it."
She's the speech coach -- and has been for decades...
"Heidi, your idea again and any ideas for an attention getter?"
(Perry Olson - KX News) "Mrs. Aufforth has had plenty of success in speech, and oddly enough, she may want to thank a lack of success here, on the basketball, that lead to that." (Beth Aufforth - Retiring Bowbells Teacher) "Well, they asked me to quit coaching basketball! We only won one game in the two years that I coached!"
That was a good move -- she has created a bit of a dynasty in speech here. 3 times named the state coach of the year, including just last month for one final time...and team success too.
(Beth Aufforth - Retiring Bowbells Teacher) "We have placed at state eight times! We have never taken first because we just don' the numbers to take first but we have taken a couple of seconds at state."
There have been individual titles -- and countless stories like this from her students, who it is easy to see, have great affection for her.
(Taylor Mahlum - Bowbells Senior) "She is just really passionate about teaching, and coaching speech and drama. She is goofy and silly but so serious at the same time." (Douglas Winzenburg - Bowbells Senior) "The countless hours of practice with Mrs. Aufforth. Going in there before school and after school, working on pieces, breaking them apart paragraph by paragraph and sentence by sentence and being able to perform what we worked on as myself."
And in a world where texting, tweeting, and snap chatting are the rage -- she feels the vocal chords still do the best work...
(Beth Aufforth - Retiring Bowbells Teacher) "I so passionately believe that people need to talk. That is part of the issue in the whole world...we talk less and less and less, and that is scary."
But not in her class for a few more weeks...the talking will continue, even if the speech season is officially over -- and all that talk, is good. In Bowbells, Perry Olson, KX News.
Aufforth says she plans on taking a bit of a break from speech...but suspects she'll be back involved in meets in some form very soon.??
Chantelle Pepple says she hopes people will have a greater appreciation for what "this monster took from this world and my family."