In the fall of 1966 Jim Van Arsdall came to work for Worthington Schools. He was a young man with drive, ambition and a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of kids. 46 years later, last week, Jim retired from teaching as a teacher at Worthingway Middle School. (If you haven’t yet done so, please click on the picture above and watch this video tribute to Jim created by Battelle For Kids and found on their celebrateteaching.org website. If you’re reading this within Worthington Schools you’ll need to click on your “filter over-ride” button located on your desk-top, as the video is hosted on You-Tube. If you skipped over this step earlier in the week in my post titled Kenny Chaffin go back and watch that video as well. Finally the celebrateteaching.org website also features Worthington Kilbourne High School teacher and my friend, Janet Ellis. It’s awesome as well! Now, back to Jim….)
In a letter published in the ThisWeek Worthington News on June 6th, Jim’s daughter Kristen Maurice says it best, “my dad is what you might call a legend in the Worthington school district. He has tirelessly educated 46 years of students. He has also been a football, basketball and baseball coach, as well as an athletics director. Plain and simple, he has dedicated his entire adult life to the students and players in Worthington schools.”
In a society where the only constant is change, Jim was a consistent positive force. He stayed put. He invested in the success of generations of students and families. He had many opportunities to move. He had many opportunities to retire earlier. Yet, he stayed. And in the end, we would have liked for him to return for more. He’s that good! At his retirement celebration Jim prepared a few words that I think are worth your time. Here is what Jim had to say:
“When you have spent your entire professional life, as well as a significant portion of your personal life, living under the warm embrace of the Worthington school community, it becomes most difficult if not impossible to identify one event being more memorable or significant than another.
As I search my reverie, I can best capture those many thoughts by sharing the good, the bad and the most wonderful that come to mind today. The good has been the opportunities provided to me in my various roles of teacher, of coach of athletic coordinator, of father and of grandfather as I enjoyed both my professional and personal lives in and about this community. Each role provided a different challenge, a different perspective and many bountiful new relationships with which I otherwise would not have had the distinct pleasure to enjoy.
The bad has included the stark reality of the passing of students, players, colleagues and of friends over these many years. We are reminded too often of how precious and how brief our contributions to each other and our relationships with each other can be.
The most wonderful has been the realization of a dream come true. A dream of teaching and coaching young people which was illuminated during my high school days in Marion, clarified during my collegiate days at the Ohio State University, confirmed during my student teaching experiences with Mrs. Huston and Mr. Sweptson and came to life with a passion through my hiring and my career with Worthington schools.
Whether you have been a parent, a former student, a colleague, a friend or all of the above, I offer my sincere thank you to each of you who has shared in my good, my bad and my most wonderful dream here in Worthington.”
To Jim, I think I speak for all of a grateful Worthington: THANK YOU!
p.s. If you run into Worthington School Board Member Julie Keegan around Worthington, ask her about Jim Van Arsdall. You’ll enjoy watching her blush and turn red. 🙂