LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — For the last 50 years, Bob Hart has walked the halls at Leavenworth High School.
“Things were a little simpler,” Hart said since starting in 1967. “But I've seen many hairstyles since then!”
Some of his colleagues were once his students.
“I believe I had Coach Hart in ’92, ’93,” DaQuan Walton said.
“I had him in 1986 for biology and later on for zoology,” Sean Murphy said.
“Sophomore year, 1969,” Mark Wentz said.
Murphy reminisced about the times they shared in the science classroom.
“Thank you for my prom date,” Murphy said to Hart. “I met her in your class.”
“He just always made you think outside the box,” Walton said. “I was no science geek when I got with Coach Hart, but I’lI tell you afterwards, I loved science.”
Not all his lessons were about science.
Students remember the events outside of school that had an impact in the classroom.
“All the things with Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement, and the sexual revolution, all of it, it was a vibrant time,” Wentz said. “But he handled it in the way he always handles things — very smoothly and calmly.”
Hart has seen the changes, and more recently tragic events, inside schools having an impact on today’s students and teachers.
“There are more children that have been killed in school shootings than in military conflict, so I'm not sure what the answer is, but you cannot let it stop you,” Hart said.
While times have changed, and not all days were easy, Hart said the passion for teaching stayed consistent.
“The most important thing in my life has been my students,” Hart said.
And his students have thanked him for it.
“Because of Bob, you never rule out a kid. You never give up on him, and he's probably one of the biggest reasons why I'm glad he didn't on me,” Murphy said.
“Even with him not being here, this hallway will always be Coach Hart, you'll always hear him,” Walton said.
Hart said he will continue to learn as he celebrates retirement and is going to travel as much as he can.