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Shawnee Dispatch Features Mr. Vollmer
The May 23, 2012 Shawnee Dispatch contained an article about Mr. Vollmer's last day at Midland, including recognition by the mayor of Shawnee. The article is include below, or you can read it on the original page here.
Teacher’s 40-year retirement celebration draws former students
When he walked into his classroom on the morning of May 18, Keith Vollmer had a surprise waiting for him.
About 25 former Midland Adventist Academy students were sitting in desks, there to help celebrate Vollmer’s retirement from the school after more than 40 years.
“I just kind of stopped and was a little bit speechless there and told them they caught me this time,” Vollmer said. “I don’t think I’ve been surprised too often, but this was a big surprise.”
The retirement celebration included an assembly in the gym, where current and former students shared memories of Vollmer. A proclamation, signed by Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyers and designating the day as “Keith Vollmer Day,” was also read.
Former Midland students who traveled from throughout the Midwest to be there for the celebration included Keith Richardson, who flew in from Chicago even though he never took a class from Vollmer.
“He just has the ability to make a connection with students, and that’s what makes him so good,” said Richardson, who grew up in Lenexa and attended the K-12 school in the early ’70s when it only went up to the 10th grade. “I think he made a connection with everybody.”
Vollmer’s position at Midland equates to his first and last teaching job. He began teaching English at the school in 1971, shortly after graduating from the Northern State Teacher’s College, now known as Northern State University, in Aberdeen, S.D. The rest, he said, is one fulfilling history that includes having the opportunity to teach his own two children — an experience he calls both “rewarding and challenging” — and even the children of former students.
“It’s been so neat to see how the child is the same or different or whatever from how the parent was, and it’s been fun seeing that second generation coming along and having them in my classroom,” he said. “I tell them they’re my teacher’s pets.”
Vollmer also has four grandchildren currently attending the school.
Since starting at Midland, Vollmer has taught a number of classes outside of English, including social studies, Bible class and physical education.
“I never thought I’d stay here for 40 years,” he said. “But I just don’t know of any better place or better people or better students. I just didn’t feel the Lord was telling me to go somewhere else.”
Vollmer’s last day with the school was Wednesday. With his newfound free time, he said he plans to baby-sit the grandchildren with his wife, Becky, over the summer.
And after that?
“We’ve never been on a cruise,” he said. “So we’d like to do a cruise and see how that goes.”
Vollmer said he’ll miss the students the most.
“They’ve kept me young,” he said.
But the students and staff at Midland may not have seen the last of Vollmer at the head of a classroom.
“I told them, don’t call me the first semester for substitutes,” he said with a laugh. “But after that, maybe.”