Once in awhile there comes along a person who, because of their values, goals and personality can greatly influence and mold others. Sometimes such a person even becomes a teacher and can thus influence and affect students in a positive way. Payson High School was lucky enough to have such a teacher, Mr. Pirch, for some thirty years.
If you or your children have not had an encounter with Mr. Pirch, ask anyone in the Payson area how he has influenced the youth of this community. We have all heard about his coaching accomplishments and how his team members have gone on to live very successful lives. But you will also hear about how his caring ways have changed students' lives and set them on a path toward being successful people with values and goals that make for better citizens.
Well, that has all ended. Mr. Pirch's contract was not renewed because after some thirty years he no longer wanted to teach full-time. The central office said "no full-time, no contract."
He probably wanted to devote more time to his business and maybe even writing for this newspaper. Our community and students have apparently lost a valuable asset because the central office have looked at their organizational charts and decided he no longer fits in. They seem to value organizational structure more than what a person can and does give students. Mr. Pirch has proven his worth in this area many times over.
What can we as citizens and parents do to correct this situation? First of all we can ask our friends and neighbors to share their memories of encounters with Mr. Pirch and his students. We can then call the District Office and let them know we want teachers like Mr. Pirch who teach values as well as subject matter to students. We can put the school board on notice that values and citizenship are just as important as academic subjects and they can still correct the current situation before we lose such valuable teachers.
The community I came from was experiencing problems with the public school system and the voters demanded changes. One of the biggest changes resulted in a transfer of more power from the central office to the building principals. Maybe it is time Payson does the same. Let the principals have more control over what happens in their buildings.
Maybe we can even get Mr. Pirch back.
Tom Loeffler, Payson