Bagpiper: How long have you been teaching?
Delbert Hillegas: “42 years of teaching.”
BP: What’s your favorite thing about teaching?
DH: “The kids. I love their openness to learning new things and sometimes their not learning new things.”
BP: How do you feel about retiring?
DH: “Part of me is real happy about it and part of me is real sad. I’m going to miss the teachers. I’m going to miss the camaraderie that we have here in the school. But, in weighing it out, it’s not going to be so bad because I am still going to maintain some touch with the building. I’m going to be on the alumni association. I’m still going to do some of the printing that they do in here like the covers for the planners and things like that. I’m still going to take care of manipulating the graphics for those to have them printed and I’ll be doing some other things. I’ll be at dance marathon because I’m a Riley kid, too.”
BP: What are your plans after retirement outside of school?
DH: “I’ve been offered jobs all over the place, go back into printing or becoming a traffic enforcement officer. That’s the funniest one of all. They’ve offered me all kinds of jobs. I probably will work with my wife who is a fantastic watercolor artist. She’s a graduate of Floyd Central, too. I’ll do her artist prints. I’ll print those for her of her originals. But whatever it is, it’ll be whatever I want to do. If I go fishing one day, I’m going to go fishing”
BP: What will you miss most about teaching?
DH: “The interaction day to day with kids. I’ll tell you something I won’t miss. I won’t miss the stomach flu, and colds, and the drama that goes along with teaching. I won’t miss any of that. I will miss being with the kids and working in an educational environment to try to teach something. I’m going to miss that.”
BP: What is the best experience you’ve had teaching?
DH: “Having a class of 18 kids at Prosser and 12 of them certify to be printers.They all got certifications and that was the best. They all worked and got their certifications.”
BP: Was teaching your original career choice?
DH: “I went in my junior year and said ‘I want to be a printing teacher.’ I told my counselor and he said ‘you aren’t ever going to be a printing teacher. You can’t, you aren’t smart enough’ He said that to me. I had other teachers that were talking to me. As you convert what the teacher says and his teaching style, you convert it to the way you learn. I was able to do that and it helped me get through school. I got my transcripts and I came to my counselor and threw them down and I said ‘You gotta quit labeling kids.’ You label kids, it follows them.”
BP: Who made you want to go into teaching?
DH: “My printing teachers and other teachers here at Floyd Central. They made me want to go into teaching.”
BP: Is there anything you would like to add?
DH: “I could not be any more thankful to be here and to be around such professional people and what a gift this school is to the community. It’s just beyond anything that I’ve ever been in. The teachers treat me like royalty. They treat me like I know what I am doing and when I came in here I didn’t know what I was doing. They help me all the way along to get me where I am now and I think the world of this place, the teachers, the administrators, and everybody connected to it.”