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Witt and Whitten Retire after Combined Seventy-One Years

Madeleine Andrews and Talley Johnston

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Chuck Witt

After 33 years of teaching at the high school that he attended, math teacher and track coach Chuck Witt has decided to retire. He is known for his jokes and sarcastic humor that are heard throughout his classroom. Nothing gets by him, and if you ever misbehave in his class, you are typically called out by being incorporated into a joke.
When asked why he is retiring this year he says, “One: I am tired. Thirty-three years doing the same thing in the same place is long enough and it’s time to move on.” Witt says that the dramatic change in technology is another reason why he is moving on from his teaching career. As a student in one of his classes, I know he is not a big fan of phones.
Mr. Witt is going to continue coaching the girls’ track and cross country teams with his wife because it is the part of the job that he loves. Along with coaching, he will also be heading up to JMU to cheer on his daughter Averi Witt, who will be running track for the Dukes. He might pick up house painting on the side, he says. “So if you need any rooms painted, keep me in mind.”
You can find Mr. Witt’s classroom in the A-wing, but some of his favorite years were spent in his trailer. Overall he loves Western, and it has been a good time of his life. “A lot of good memories of a lot of good people, many who are long gone by now. But overall it’s definitely been a good experience. [It was] worthwhile and I’d do it again.”
Western is losing a great teacher who will be missed by students, athletes, and other teachers. One of his students, Kira Repich, says, “I’ll miss Mr. Witt a lot because he is one teacher who I can joke around with and he throws it back at me. I’d say that we are kind of goofy with each other and that makes class more enjoyable, so I’ll miss that. And I wish I could have him for Stats [next year].”

 

Marie Whitten

Marie Whitten’s final year of teaching has come to a close, and she should feel accomplished after teaching thousands of students within Western’s halls. For the past 38 years, she has dedicated herself to Physical Education, Health, Driver’s Education, and African Culture and Musical Dance.

Whitten has seen many changes and continuities as the years passed by. However, despite the changes, Whitten has always loved Western’s environment, and working with the students and staff. She exclaims, “I’ve loved everything here, or else I wouldn’t have stayed!”

Her structured classes that kept students engaged and active demonstrate Whitten’s devotion to the students and the content she has taught. Frank Lawson, a fellow teacher of Physical Education, Health, and Driver’s Education, explains the benefits of Whitten’s teaching style.

“I think the kids at first think they will be afraid of her, but then they realize what a good fair person she is. Her nickname on the track team is ‘Mama,’ and all the kids on the track team for years and years have always referred to her as Mama, because that’s what she is. She protected everybody, she is fair with everybody, she pushes everybody hard, and she wants you to excel well…”

Lawson is gracious towards Whitten for the guidance she provided for him in his first years at Western. He agrees with Physical Education and Health teacher, Darren Maynard, when he said, “I think we’ve all learned a lot from Mrs. Whitten.”

With the closure of her time at Western, Mrs. Whitten still believes that the staff needs to connect with their students even more. She also wants Western students to be responsible to keep the school clean, to excel academically, and to prove itself in athletics.

Whitten exclaims her final wish for Western to hear: “I would like to see the students and the faculty members take care of our school. whatever regard that is.”

As a fantastic teacher, mentor, and coach throughout the years, Western is proud to have had Whitten as a part of the community.

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