Teachers honored in annual Wall of Fame event

By Chloe Phillips

Teachers are not just people who show up everyday to give homework and leave. They are mentors who try to make a difference, and they are an inspiration to many who want to change the world and spread courage to do so which in turn spreads to others.  Most of all, teachers are acquaintances one can always look up to. They are someone who can be counted on.

The Wall of Fame is a yearly event which allows those who have been teachers at Stow for five or more years and have been retired for two or more years to be recognized for their work. This event started in 1987 and it is still carried out to this day.

On Nov. 19,  the two teachers who were elected by the current teachers and staff were Linda Nickson, who was a health and physical education teacher, and Robert Putka was an art teacher. Nov. 19 was a day where one would be able to show appreciation for them.

The Wall of Fame started at 2:45 p.m and lasted until 4:00. The teachers mingled, held sociable conversations, recalling stories of the teachers being recognized.

“[Nickson] assisted the track team for over twenty years, she, [when stow had cyclists], went on a twenty mile bike ride with her students and later she comes to find out she lost one. Don’t worry they eventually found her,” Wolfe said.

One could say Wolfe, the high school’s current health adviser, was a host. She was joyful over the fact Nickson chose her to speak for her. She was the first speaker. Wolfe had many things to say, and everything she said was added with a smile.  

“There was once an incident where a boy came out of the locker room saying there was someone hurt, and without hesitation Linda ran over to the entrance, yelled “if you don’t want me to see it you better hide it,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe was a student of Nickson’s, and they met when Wolfe was sixteen. Wolfe cleared any confusion, if there were any, when she told everyone how far back Nickson and her go, and how Nickson really impacted her life.

“She was the best teacher I had ever met. I can say that from a high schooler’s perspective and from a teacher’s perspective,” Wolfe said.

Nickson let it be know that her students made a difference in her life, and she could only hope that she did the same. The goal for her was to do better than her teachers did and to challenge her students.

“This all feels so surreal. It is to my great honor and privilege to be recognized by my peers and students. It’s a humble feeling, it just feels good knowing I did alright. One never knows and is always wondering. My heart is happy,” Nickson said.

Putka had been the high school’s art teacher. His creativity not only filled his head but also in his choice of clothing. Multiple people could be heard complementing his taste in fashion. 

Putka sat in the front with his loving family members surrounding him. He had many stories to tell and without a doubt can say many memories must of come to him in flashes.

“Bob has always been sharp in the forty years plus years I’ve known him. What I can learn from Bob is to love what I do. I try to teach my own students the same,” Steve Pierce said.

Pierce is the high schools photography teacher, and he had many words to say about Putka and each word had a wonderful feeling to it. Putka and Peters were not just student and teacher as a bond was made between them. One could take note of this by simply looking at the two talk.

“What he has left behind at this high school was us. His legacy carries on. He is a great man and the only friend one could ever need,” Pierce said.

Peters voiced his thoughts, which continued to contribute to Putka. If it wasn’t for Putka he would not of been an artist. He also stated he probably would not be living in Stow either.

He also stated Putka was going to be an architect. Of course it is obvious he had a change of heart. He is no ordinary art teacher as he brings life and joy everywhere he goes. 

“I thought why not be a teacher and perhaps an art teacher. Here and behold I was good. I always thought about how cool it would be to be a ticket greeter on the highway, I even thought about being a greeter at Walmart, then I decided that it was just not cool enough for me,” Putka said.

Putka has been heard giving life advice. In fact, Pierce says to this day he uses Putka’s advice. “Nothing but the best and no regrets,” is an example of the humble words he has spoken.

“I appreciate this honor, but it’s just so weird to look up and see my face up there. Without a doubt some of my best memories are here in the building with some of the people in this room,” Putka said.

Everyone is appreciative for the work and knowledge Nickson and Putka have passed down. If one has a mentor or teacher they look up to, maybe let them know the gratitude is there.

As for Nickson and Putka, both of them will highly influence the work done in the building. 


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