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Farewell to Ferguson: A Look at Retiring Falcons

Saying goodbye to someone you’ve grown to care about is one of the hardest things in life, and while bidding a retiring teacher farewell may not be as dramatic as other forms of the action, it can be just as emotional to see a teacher for the final time. This year, two teachers will be leaving the Ferguson family, so it’d only be right to give Mrs. Karen Kouri-Perez and Mr. Brian Wheeler a proper sendoff.

Mrs. Perez has been a teacher for the past 44 years, educating her students on how to shine on stage and learning a bit from them herself. 

“With age comes wisdom. I always tried to grow and learn so I could be a better teacher. One major thing that teaching taught me was to open my eyes to understanding different viewpoints and appreciating different cultures.” Perez recalls. “I learned to see the beauty in the small moments; to find joy in the everyday and to be thankful for the chance to inspire others. I will miss sharing music with those students who truly have a love and inspiration for the art form.” 

She’s put in effort to grow every single one of her students into the best they can be, and hopes that future students entering the choir program will too learn to love the art of singing.

Though her chapter as a teacher is coming to an end, she refuses the possibility of her love for music subsiding. She plans to continue exploring her talent in piano and learn more about pieces that she never got the chance to explore. As per her words: “Musicians never retire!  Teachers do.”

On the other hand, Mr. Wheeler has taught for the past 26 years, giving his students the tools they need to understand both Governments and Economics.

“I have taught Government and Economics for the majority of my career. I feel that my students have graduated better equipped to deal with their government and the world around them.”

From the beginning of his career to now, Wheeler has learned and changed a lot from his students and colleagues. 

“I got a lot older and fatter for one. My principles are the same, but like everyone I have had to adapt to the new technologies available. Ironically, when I first started teaching I was Mister High Tech, but not anymore.”

Though he has no set plans for travel, Wheeler anticipates the time off he’ll receive after retirement. He plans to explore side hustles, even considering the possibility of beginning his own podcast. He aims to create a nonprofit service dedicated to helping older individuals navigate the internet. 

Though excited to move on to what’s next, he plans to take things one step at a time, making plans to move back to his college town of Tallahassee. 

Though the circumstances are sad, students can happily reflect on the impact both teachers have had on Ferguson as they move to the next chapter of their journey. 

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