I would like to thank my friends and the community of Payson for the surprise retirement party that was held on Nov. 18 at the Tonto Apache Reservation gymnasium. Your generosity and kindness was humbly and completely appreciated by this veteran teacher and coach of 35 years.
I came to Payson in 1971 right after graduation from NAU with the excitement of starting a teaching career in a small community in Arizona. The relationships that developed with students and their families had a tremendous impact on my desire to raise a family here and make Payson home.
During this time, I have watched former students become parents, successful in their careers and even have had the opportunity to teach second-generation families.
Being with young people in the classroom and on the athletic field has helped keep my spirit youthful even though my body is getting old and my hair gray. I consider it an honor to have been a teacher in Payson, to have former students who are now my friends, and to develop long-lasting relationships with so many families over the years.
Kathy and I are very thankful to have been a small part of your lives and to have the opportunity to call Payson home. Thank you so much for the great years we have had and the kindness and generosity you have shown.
Coach Dennis Pirch, Payson