Valued English teacher Rick Lanning retires after over 40 years of teaching
December 6, 2017
After approximately 40 years in the teaching world, beloved English teacher Rick Lanning has decided to retire.
One of the most venerable teachers at FHC, Lanning was held to a high standard by his students. Bringing his dry wit into the classroom, there was hardly ever a dull day of learning in Room 105. One of his students, sophomore Bryn Yoder, emphasizes this fact.
“I loved his class,” Bryn said. “It was really fun. I was a little upset when he retired all of a sudden. I’m not very good at English, but he taught it in a way that was easier for me to understand.”
Lanning’s distinctive learning environment was not the only feature he brought to the table– his class was famous for his entertaining anecdotes and activities.
“We decorated his classroom for his birthday,” Bryn said. “He was really happy about that. It was really cute and a nice surprise.”
This event came to be after a few sophomores discovered their cherished teacher’s birthday was coming up. Sophomore Lindsey Cool, one student who helped plan the surprise, wanted to make Lanning’s last birthday at FHC something to remember.
“His reaction was the best part,” Lindsey said. “We were a bit nervous at first that he might be a bit upset because of the mess we made in his room– there were over 100 balloons. However, seeing him walk in with a smile on his face mollified any fears that we had. It was so gratifying to see that he truly did appreciate what we did; it showed that no matter how much we joked around during class, we really did care for him, and he for us.”
Lindsey is going to miss not only Lanning’s class but his character as well.
“His class was one of my favorite hours of the day,” Lindsey said. “We could get everything done that we needed to while still having fun.”
The unique personality that Lanning brought to the FHC community did not go unnoticed by the staff, either.
“He was a teacher who had a good sense of humor,” FHC principal Steve Passinault said. “He was very passionate about English; he was passionate about teaching writing; he was passionate about the literature and reading involved, too. I observed his classroom many times, and you could tell he had a genuine passion for what he was doing.”
Lanning’s talents extended further than the typical English teacher. He was also yearbook advisor, a title that meant putting in a few extra hours to meet deadlines and the like.
“He took a lot of pride in developing a yearbook that students could be proud of,” Passinault said. “He spent a lot of his personal time working on the yearbook and made sure it was a quality product and something students could look back at with fond memories.”
Through working on the yearbook, Lanning developed close relationships with the students involved. Whether they were editors or other students, Lanning let them use their creativity to craft the perfect yearbook, all while meeting deadlines and keeping affairs organized.
“Every teacher has a unique personality,” Passinault said. “He had that dry sense of humor; he liked to joke around with students and challenge them at the same time. Each teacher connects with students differently, but it was definitely an area of strength for Lanning.”
Lanning’s students especially have emphasized how much they’ll miss him. However, all FHC staff and students will miss Lanning’s presence in the building.
“When you open up to kids [like Lanning does], they respond well,” Passinault said. “I think classes often become too tense, too serious, and too stressful. He had a good balance of holding high expectations of his students and having fun. He wasn’t afraid to poke fun at himself sometimes, too, so his classroom environment was [appreciated by his students].”