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May 18, 2017
Harvey County IndependentMay 18, 2017 Harvey County Independent

Hobbs Celebrating Retirement After 35 Years With USD 440

Posted 5/18/2017

BENTLEY—An entire generation of students has known him as their principal, but next fall children at Bentley Primary School will have a new administrator. Current principal Larry Hobbs is retiring this summer after three-and-a-half decades working for the Halstead-Bentley school district, most of which was spent as principal at BPS.

He said these 35 years have gone by fast.LARRY Hobbs is retiring as principal of Bentley Primary School after 35 years with the school district. LARRY Hobbs is retiring as principal of Bentley Primary School after 35 years with the school district.

“It seems like all of a sudden it just kind of took off on me,” he said.

Hobbs said he has been reflecting on retirement and found that it has many similarities to graduation. Both milestones are a time to reflect on the past while also looking ahead to new adventures.

“You have to chose the right path, just like graduation from high school, which path do you want to go,” Hobbs said. “And for me, personally, where does God want me to go next? That’s kind of where I’m at.”

Since the time he was in kindergarten until now, Hobbs has always been involved in a school in some form or another, either as student, teacher or administrator.

He doesn’t have many specific plans for retirement but said he is open for anything. He added that church is a big part of his life, and he plans to continue teaching a fourth-grade Sunday school class with his wife at West Ridge Church in Wichita.

“That’ll keep me in touch with kids,” he said.

Over his career, Hobbs has been known for finding creative ways to make school fun for his students, whether that’s by taking the occasional pie to the face or by dressing as his “brother” who is the hillbilly principal of Possum Trot High School.

Hobbs said some of his favorite memories at the school have been things like the pirate competition they participated in about five years ago and the wheelchair races during the 100th day of school celebration. 

“The kids really enjoy that kind of stuff,” he said.

Another highlight for him was seeing one of his teachers, Marlys Gwaltney, receive recognition in a teacher-of-the-year competition for the central district this past year.

“I’ll still hold onto great memories that I’ve had and just really being thankful to the Halstead-Bentley community,” Hobbs said “They’ve been very gracious to me.”

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Burrton Business Teacher Moving To Mexico

Posted 5/18/2017

By Jared Janzen

BURRTON—Kenna Teel has sold all her possessions and is ready to immerse herself in a completely new culture. For the past five years, Teel has taught business and computer classes at Burrton High School, but this fall she’ll be moving to Torreon, Mexico, a city of more than 600,000 residents.

Teel will be teaching computer skills to eighth-graders and twelfth-graders at Colegio Americano de Torreon. This is an English-speaking private school with 95 percent of students being Mexicans, Teel said.BURRTON High School’s Kenna Teel will be moving to Mexico this fall to teach computer classes at a Colegio Americano de Torreon for the next several years. BURRTON High School’s Kenna Teel will be moving to Mexico this fall to teach computer classes at a Colegio Americano de Torreon for the next several years.

This will be her second experience teaching internationally, having taught two years in Dubai.

“I thought if I’m going to do it again, I’d better do it now,” Teel said.

She’s also traveled many other places across the globe. Some of her favorite experiences have been going on a safari in Africa and scuba diving off the coast of Oman, but she’s also been to Europe, New Zealand and Peru. 

“There’s been so many great experiences, so many great adventures,” she said.

She’s visited Mexico once before and speaks a little Spanish.

“Muy, muy poco,” she said.

The city of Torreon is a younger city that’s only about 100 years old, owing its population boom to the creation of a railroad between it and El Paso, Texas.

“It’s not going to have the historical, Mexican-feel that everywhere else has, but I can always go visit those places,” she said.

Teel got connected to Colegio Americano de Torreon through a job fair for international education. She’s signed a two-year renewable contract with the school, and since she’s sold everything she owns, there’s a good chance she will stay longer.

“When I went to Dubai I stored everything, thinking that when I came back I would have all my stuff,” Teel said. “This time I sold it all.”

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Sedgwick Man Grows Colorful Irises

Posted 5/18/2017

By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK – Take a drive north on Hoover off of 125th Street in Sedgwick, almost to Eighth Street, look left and be greeted by an explosion of color. The color comes from the bearded iris garden of Amos Lewman.

His 40x40 plot has just around 91 different iris plants – yellow, pink, white, rust, peach, and even black. Then there are the blue or purple varieties in so many different shades, light, dark, some with white, and some with yellow.IRISES at Lewman’s are a riot of color.IRISES at Lewman’s are a riot of color.

Lewman, originally from Wichita, moved to Sedgwick from St. Louis a couple of years ago after he retired. He brought the first two rows of plants with him. There were 18 different colors in that first planting.

His collection grows as he spots other colors of the flowers and asks for a start. “I just put eight more in that I didn’t have,” Lewman said. He found them on N. Seneca in Wichita.

Irises grow from rizhomes and are fairly easy to grow. The old fashioned flower has been around for years.

All irises start out yellow or blue/purple. All the different colors come from growing hybrids to get new colors. Lewman is seeing some color change occurring naturally in some of his irises.

“Irises have three bottom petals, that point down, and then there are three upright in the middle the flower. I moved some irises from one spot to another and the new flowers are a different color, and all six petals are pointing down. They almost look like a Japanese iris,” he added.

They are more than just pretty flowers too. Irises have distinct, sweet fragrances, with no two plants smelling the same. “When the wind bows just right, my neighbor sure gets some sweet air,” Lewman chuckled.

Lewman plans to keep bringing more colors home as he finds them. He also has plans to enlarge the garden area. Peonies are planted in with the irises and he wants to take those out.

He is not a member of an iris society, and doesn’t even know the names of all of the varieties of colors he has. His home is not filled with vases of irises either. He says,

“I just like them. They are pretty and smell nice,” Lewman said.

When asked which of all of those 91 plants were his favorite, he simply said the yellow ones. “I like them because they stand out,” he added.

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