By Rachel Owen
Teaching at SRHS since 2000, Mr. Ron Reichmuth has changed the lives of many students. However, he has decided that it is time to retire.
Reichmuth taught special needs students the values of hard work during the full days he spent with them. His students were known for emptying the blue recycling bins in classrooms or working at the snack cart in the quad during break and lunch.
Although these daily tasks are what his class is most known for, Reichmuth was teaching his students something most people don’t learn until their first real job: the value of hard work. Rather than teaching the inner workings of academia, Reichmuth educated his students on real life skills such as managing their finances, checking inventories, differentiating between need and want, and gardening.
“You can’t teach theory to kids with special needs. I mean, you can, to a point, but then you have to make it into ‘Okay what does that mean?’… Theory of work: how do you earn money, how do you become valuable to your employer, how do you take that and make yourself valuable so you have self worth…” said Reichmuth.
During his time running the snack cart, Reichmuth ran into some problems with the lunch monitors because they didn’t like that other people were selling food to students; a conflict that foreshadowed the cancellation of Country Fair Day festivities. This disagreement came to a head when three members from the state came to monitor the food cart.
They claimed that the foods being offered, such as trail mix, beef jerky, muffins, and noodles, were extremely unhealthy and not suitable for students. However, they failed to see the value of the experience gained by students running the cart.
“They didn’t see the fact that the kids were learning how to use customer service, inventory, and cash handling. All the things people look for at entry level positions whether it be in retail or any other job…” said Reichmuth.
Reichmuth even offered to create a compromise with the food directors by proposing a win-win situation. He asked if they would bake low-calorie, healthy muffins that he would then buy and sell back to the students. Nevertheless, they refused.
While his main reason for retirement is an impending surgery, Reichmuth also believes that it is time someone else comes along to improve what he worked so hard to build. He reminisces on how proud he was that his students were accepted and loved at Santa Rosa High School. After seventeen years as a teacher at SRHS, he can retire in peace knowing that he improved countless lives.