A Wapakoneta High School staff member views her retirement as bittersweet.
While Deb Hemmert says she will miss being an impartial person for students to go to as a high school guidance counselor, she knows she will enjoy taking the time to do things she never got a chance to do.
“I never had the opportunity to travel,” Hemmert said. “There are so many places I would like to visit. Me and my husband will take a lot of small vacations.”
Hemmert was one of five retirees honored recently by the Wapakoneta Education Foundation. She taught in the district for 35 years.
Hemmert was hired as a business teacher at Blume Junior High School in August 1976. While there, she said she made some of her best friends in Wapakoneta.
“It was a great place to teach,” Hemmert said. “It was where I made most of my friends in Wapakoneta.”
Hemmert recalled Lou Meyer, the principal at Blume Junior High School when she was hired.
“He was a wonderful man to work for,” Hemmert said. “He taught us to be firm and consistent. He became a friend to all of us.”
After teaching at Blume for 13 years, the new high school was built. Hemmert said that event helped fit her into what she felt was a perfect career fit for her.
After teaching elementary physical education for a year, she became a guidance counselor at the high school. She spent her remaining years as an educator in that position.
“I loved what I did,” Hemmert said of her experience as a guidance counselor. “I loved my work and I couldn’t have picked a better profession. I never looked at it as work.”
Hemmert said she felt students often felt their family was not there for them, even when they were.
She said she felt her position as a guidance counselor gave them an impartial person to go to with problems.
“That was what made retiring hard,” Hemmert said. “I am trying to look at it as another chapter in the book.”
Hemmert relocated to the area to attend college at Findlay University from Inlet, New York. She was hired after graduating at Wapakoneta and made her home here.
Until recently, she lived in Wapakoneta. She married three years ago and relocated to Bellefontaine, where she has made the trip back and forth before her retirement. Both her children, Amber Warner Bassett (1999) and Carl “Adam” Warner (2005) graduated from Wapakoneta.
Her first impression of Wapakoneta was that it was a hard place to fit in.
“But I made lifelong friends while I was teaching,” Hemmert said.
While teaching in the district, Hemmert also served as a coach for 25 years, including 10 years each as a gymnastics, track and volleyball coach, 15 years as a football and basketball cheerleading coach.
“Its kind of an exciting time,” Hemmert said of retirement. “It is different realizing that no one is depending on you.”
Hemmert said she and her husband are avid golfers and plan to spend plenty of time on the course. She said that her and her husband plan to make more trips to her parent’s home in New York. They also purchased new bicycles and plan to use them often.
“I am still pretty active,” Hemmert said. “I am just going to enjoy each day and doing what I want, when i want, and how I want to do it.”