Losing Two Familiar Faces: Bednarski and Hartley’s Retirement

Presley Saleh

As the 2021-2022 school year ends, so do the careers of staff. This year, two very well-liked staff members, veterans of the school, are retiring. English Teacher Marie Bednarski and Athletic Director John Hartley are savoring their last year being at the high school before their retirements.

Bednarski has been teaching for 36 years and has been at Lake Shore for 22. She has always been an English teacher, but she has also taken the roles of a class advisor, a club manager, and more. She loves literature, and students were sad when they found out that they could not take classes taught by her next school year.

Bednarski is a very passionate teacher, to which she explained, “I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since I was five.”

Through a game of hangman, she revealed her retirement to her second hour, to which the news spread and about a handful of students have visited her and wished her goodbyes.

Although she has had a long ride, she decided it was time, elaborating, “I’m retiring because I’ve been doing it for 36 years, and it’s been a fabulous experience, and I always said I’d retire one year after my daughter graduated, and I just feel that now is my time.”

When asked about her memorable moments, she justified this by saying that “Every day is a different day, every day the energy is different, some days we’re just laughing so hard. I can’t say just one thing.” She appreciates the students in each class which make her school days much more lively and enjoyable.

When thinking about the things she will miss, she said, “I will definitely miss my friends and students, I am going to start doing things that I never really had time to do, but I will definitely miss coming in and seeing everybody. My department of colleagues and are the best friends I’ve ever made, and I’m going to continue to see them outside of school. We’re always out here laughing, and I will miss that.” 

Bednarski has a surprise-celebration planned for her retirement. She elaborates, “I didn’t know about it, but my husband actually planned a trip to Alaska for us. What would be my first day of school, we’ll be flying to Alaska, and we are staying in a lodge then a train ride and then we’re going on a cruise for six days, I’m super excited, it’s always been on my bucket list.” With that, Bednarski is bound to have a great retirement as she can accomplish more goals on the list with more time on her hands. 

Having one staff member retire at Lake Shore is sad enough, but two in one year makes it much more interesting.

Around spring break, the news spread that Hartley was retiring. Hartley has been teaching for 27 years. He has many many roles here, including a PE teacher, coach of the girl’s and boy’s basketball teams, and then assistant principal for ten years. Since 2009, Hartley has been known as the Athletic Director. 

Hartley has been teaching at Lake Shore for 23 years, and he said it was “Time for something else.” He feels accomplished with his success with students and personal criteria that have made him more comfortable retiring.

When looking back at the good memories, Hartley said there are, “So many memorable moments, but just seeing the success of kids and coaches and being able to look back at how many lives you’ve touched and you’ve had a big impact on. And that’s one thing, when the kids come back that aren’t kids anymore come back and say, ‘Hey, I appreciate what you did for me in high school,’ which makes it what it’s all about.” It’s really heartwarming to have previous students stop by and thank you for what you’ve done for them.

Hartley explains what he’ll miss the most is, “Just the relationships with students and staff and the people you met along the way.” He will also miss the feeling of waking up and coming to school every day, which makes sense as Bednarski said as well as how adapted you become to the school schedule, and having that free time is a big change.

When asked for a message each has for current and future teachers, both gave important replies. 

Hartley still plans to work after his retirement, but he advised, “It’s a hard job, it’s grueling, it’s a grind, but stay with it.” He also said, “This place has been a part of my life for 23 years, and it has a special place in my heart and I’m excited to see this place continue and do well, so I appreciate my time here.”

Bednarski explained, “This one makes me cry, but it’s just- to really believe in yourself, because right now, teachers have a target on their backs, but at the beginning of the pandemic, we were heroes. If you are not in the classroom, you have no idea what it’s like to be a teacher. But a teacher touches every single job because you cannot be a president or a doctor without somebody teaching you. We touch every single life out there, so just believe in yourself.” 

While 2022 marks the last year of Bednarski and Hartley’s time at Lake Shore, their legacies continue to be told throughout the school. Let’s hope they enjoy their retirements as deserved and await the people fulfilling their roles.