'It's been a good run'

Zoe Greszler • May 21, 2018 at 4:00 AM

WILLARD — The Willard City Schools bid farewell to a bright star among its instructors.

Rich Makino taught at Willard City Schools for 10 years, a decade which he called “significant” in his life. After teaching locally, as well as in Nigeria, Chicago and Indonesia, Makino has decided to end his career on a high note, retiring at the end of this 2017-2018 school year.

“When we interviewed Rich Makino we had a science and a math opening,” said superintendent Jeff Ritz. “Well, Rich, you applied for the science position, and we knew we really wanted you, but had another plan for you. I remember we asked you, ‘How do you like algebra and physics?’ We’ve been blessed ever since.

“I really can’t say enough good things about him,” Ritz added. 

“I still remember that first day too,” Makino said.

“It was a big day. Every time I’ve interviewed for a new position, it’s been a big day. I’ve taught in Nigeria, then Chicago, then back to Indonesia. Everyone of the schools, just to get the job was significant so that day was very significant to me; it really was.”

He said when searching for and interviewing for the Willard Schools position, he “really wanted” to be accepted because it was the school both his wife and her father attended. Even though the position wasn’t what he initially expected to receive, Makino said “it was just a good feeling.”

“It's been a good run,” he said. “The kids are great. Everyone — the students right up to the top (with the administrators) — they've been great stuff. I’m hoping to stay and to sub still a little bit.”

Board member Rick Willoughby, a collector of baseballs, asked Makino to sign one of his collectibles, adding he keeps and displays balls signed by people he admires.

“It’s been great to have him as a person and as a teacher here in the school,” Willoughby said.

In other board action, the board heard

• The district is looking for nominations for its first Distinguished W Award, recognizing those who have done something “gone and done something with their education, for the community or the school.” Nominations and questions can be sent to [email protected] and the recipients will be recognized during homecoming in the fall.

• Johanna Beebe, who helped drive the recently failed levy to fund the Willard Performing Arts Center project, thanked the board for its support of the levy. “We’re continuing to work on other options to fund a PAC on school grounds for both students and the community,” she said. “As our motto continues to be, ‘Yes we can.’”

• The district will look at other options when it comes to T.V. entertainment after finding out it would be charged $8,000 for cable through its current provider, Spectrum. The quoted bill would average about $750 per month. Ritz said this was the first time “since the dawn of time” that any school he knows of would be charged for cable T.V. 

“I'm like, ‘I'm not going to pay $8,000 for cable TV,’” he told the board. “I just can't see that as a wise use of our money. Financially, could we do it? Yes. But, I just don't think it's a wise use of the districts money. There are other options.”

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