|Huysman wraps up 41-year career at St. John’s|
|Saturday, June 01, 2013 12:18 AM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
Friday was a bittersweet day for retiring St. John’s High School Principal Don Huysman. As the hallways emptied at the last bell of the school year, the 41-year veteran educator and administrator looked around his office at the array of mementos he amassed during his career. The back wall is lined with pictures of his graduating classes. The front outside edge of his desk is filled with cards wishing him well on his next endeavors and thanking him for his dedication.
“This had never been a job,” Huysman said as he looked up and smiled. “The kids made it that way. They’re my kids. I love it when they come back and see me. That’s what makes it all worth while. They come back and tell me how well they are doing and let me know I had a part in it.”
Huysman also credited those he worked with for his longevity.
“I have met so many great people. They are who I’m going to miss the most,” he said. “There are so many here and in the community with tremendous dedication to what they do. I want to the thank the people of Delphos for their support. It’s a great community.”
Huysman, a St. John alumnus, didn’t always want to be a teacher. During his early college years, he spent two summers working at Kolkmeyer Funeral Home and and then attended mortuary school and became a licensed funeral director and even served his apprenticeship.
“That is a tough business,” he said. “You have to be on call all the time. That life just wasn’t for me.”
So he took a look around, saw his brother, Ron, who was a teacher, and decided to try it. After graduating from Ohio State University, Huysman tried in earnest to get a job.
“I looked everywhere,” he said. “There were just no full-time positions available.”
Then came the call from St. John’s High School Principal George Adams.
“He said he had a part-time position at the elementary school and one at the high school and asked if I wanted to do both,” Huysman recalled. “I said I would and then I lived out of a briefcase for a couple years and then I just never left. You never know where God will lead you.”
Huysman coached junior high football and was an assistant high school baseball coach during his first teaching years. He was made faculty manager in 1976 and in 1983, he became athletic director, a job he kept for 16 years. He was named assistant principal in 1989 and then principal in 2000.
The final position at his alma mater hasn’t been without some trials.
“The discipline is what I hated the most,” he said. “Kids make mistakes but they have to learn from them. You just can’t forget you were a student once and remember what it was like.”
Advice he would like to pass along to his predecessor.
“He should just be himself and understand he was a student once and understand what they are going through,” he said. “We only have them for seven hours and then they go out in to the world.”
A world Huysman said is moving a little too fast for his liking.
“Technology is amazing. There is so much. If it’s used the right way it can be wonderful but if not, you have problems,” he said. “It’s just moving too fast. I’m glad to leave it to someone younger. It’s time for a younger administration.”
Huysman will spend the next month packing away his memorabilia. July 1, a Monday, will be the test.
“I’m used to being here. It will be an adjustment,” he said. “I’ll miss it but St. John’s will always hold a special place for me. It’s time to take a deep breath and see what I want to do next. I haven’t really made plans because they may not fit. You just never know.”