While he still has another month and a half before officially closing out his teaching career, Mark Blue already knows how much he’ll be missed in the halls of Edon High School.
That would be because a number of his students, both former and current, colleagues, and the general Edon populace made that clear to him through a surprise retirement party on Saturday, April 18. While Blue has plans for a retirement celebration in Las Vegas upon the end of the school year, the event held in cafeteria of the old Cooney Elementary School, situated in Northwest Township, allowed for the memories to flow much more freely with all of the familiar faces in attendance. It also allowed for portions of the teacher’s history to be chronicled, as the guest book encouraged its signees to share their favorite memories involving him.
The idea to throw the party began with Suzanne Hollobaugh, another Edon teacher who has worked with Blue for a good many years. She was not alone in organizing things, however.
“If it was just me, things wouldn’t look this nice.” Hollobaugh stated.
Several members of the Edon faculty, as well as a few former students, took part in creating the lively decorations and delicious food for the party. Two cakes, one white and the other chocolate, as well as an assortment of cookies and chips were served with punch and bottled water.
Some may be wondering whether or not the surprise party was actually a surprise for Mr. Blue.
“I think we got him.” Hollobaugh theorized. “He’s got loose lips. It would have slipped if he had suspected anything.”
But the real question is, how did they convince Blue, a resident of Hamilton, Indiana, to arrive at Cooney without arousing suspicion.
“I told him I was taking him to dinner at Bill’s Steakhouse.” Admitted Hollobaugh, referring to the Bronson, Michigan eatery. “But I said that I had something to do at Cooney first, so I asked him to meet me here.”
And Blue was none the wiser.
“He asked me if he could just come inside when he got here.” Hollobaugh chuckled. “ I said, ‘Sure, if you want to.’”
As for the man himself, he seems to have succumbed to a severe case of senioritis.
“Thirty-six more days.” Blue announced, counting down the days until the end of the school year.
One can hardly blame the man. He’s been teaching for an awfully long period of time. In fact, he’s got the number of years down to the second decimal place.
“I’ve been teaching for 30.54 years.” The History and Government teacher put on his best mathematician impression.
In that immense span, Mr. Blue has worn many hats. Not only is Edon Northwest losing a teacher. They’re losing a Golf, Track, and Junior High Basketball Coach. They’re losing an announcer at high school basketball games. They’re losing their main organizer for Prom each year. They’re losing their chief negotiator for the Edon Northwest Teacher’s Association. And they’re losing a lot of other things as well, as he calls it a career.
That’s why Hollobaugh felt so strongly that they needed to honor Mr. Blue properly.
“He’s given so much time for this school.” She explained. “We just wanted to make sure he understood how much we appreciated him.”
Given all of that time he’s put into the Edon Northwest Local School system, the irony of where his party took place was not lost on Blue.
“This is where it all began.” He recalled. “I started going to school here when I was six.”
Like a ship coming back to port, the culmination of Mr. Blue’s academic career occurring where it started heralded a celebration that even Vegas can’t match.
T.J. Hug can be reached at
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