Elder says goodbye to some of its finest


Over the past four years here at Elder High School I have seen teachers come and go. Last year Elder saw one of their most beloved teachers, Mr. Ploehs retire along with his wife. A year before that Elder’s Spanish 2 and 4 teacher Mr. Grosser retired, along with Father Rettig, who was the only German teacher at the time. Replacing these teachers wasn’t easy, and trying to replace some of the teachers who are retiring this year is going to be even harder, seeing that the principal Mr. Otten, English teacher Mr. Briede, and AP American History teacher Mr. Hilvert have all decided end their careers at Elder.

Mr. Briede
Mr. Briede

Starting off with Mr. Briede, many sophomores have him as their English 2 teacher. Mr. Briede graduated from Elder in 1970, and has been a part of the Elder community since beginning as a teacher in 1975. He was a Tennis coach for Elder from 1979-2002, and has the longest coaching tenure in that sport at Elder. Mr. Briede also has written a novel entitled “Soldiers of Misfortune,” which is something not too many of his students realize.

Senior Kobe Young can often recall his time in Mr. Briede’s English class and much of the dry humor which came from this class.  “I still remember the beginning of sophomore year when we did the intruder drill,” Kobe said. “He was talking about how if someone finally got in the classroom, they would take the biggest guy, like Joe Schroer for instance, and have him just chuck every desk he could find at him.”

Pullquote Photo

“I still remember the beginning of sophomore year…”

— Kobe Young

Mr. Briede’s writing assignments may have been hard, but if there is one thing a student can take from his class is that they definitely became a better writer. Mr. Briede has been a great influence to me, along with my other English teachers, because my intended major for college is English and my goal is to hopefully become a teacher. Much of my interest in English comes from writing, and this was a big focus in my sophomore year.  Future classes are going to miss out on some of the great times in Mr. Briede’s class. After 41 years, Elder will say goodbye to Mr. Briede.

Mr. Hilvert
Mr. Hilvert

Then there’s the legend Mr. Hilvert, who’s currently semi-retired and only teaches one AP American History course. Mr. Hilvert graduated from Elder in 1964, and is approaching nearly 46 years of teaching. Mr. Hilvert has taught many classes and wrote numerous recommendation letters for his students, and has been one of the most influential teachers for his students. Not too many students know Mr. Hilvert, since he only teaches first period. His class is run like a college course, and he pushes all of his students to their maximum potential.

From the way he teaches to the debates he often has with his students, Mr. Hilvert handles the class professionally and instills not only the knowledge of America’s history, but also how to budget our time and to get help when we need it. My junior year there were many debates between Jake Rinear and Mr. Hilvert, and the entire class benefited. He not only encouraged us to ask questions about the material, but to also argue and challenge it in some cases with his essay questions. Many of the questions were agree or disagree questions, and we had to support our arguement. Mr. Hilvert pushed his students to think for themselves, which is a quality many students will miss out at Elder and for future classes to come.

Mr. Otten
Mr. Otten

Now for the principal, Mr. Tom Otten. Mr. Otten also graduated from Elder in 1964, and started his teaching career as a math teacher in 1968. Over these years, the amount of respect for Mr. Otten has grown tremendously in the Elder community, and he became the Dean of Students. Eventually, he was nominated to be the next principal of Elder in 1997, and became the first lay person to become principal of Elder in all of the school’s 94 year history. Every student knows Mr. Otten, and the respect everyone has for the man is tremendous.

I’ve known Mr. Otten since I was a young kid when my mom had to take my brother and me to Elder on some occasions, and I thought he was a great and funny guy. When I reached Elder after all those years, he still remembered my name. Mr. Otten has a tremendous amount of interest in the students and the welfare of this school, and he will be missed, just like he will miss being around the school and the students.

All these teachers have been a big presence at Elder over the years. When alumni think of Elder, they remember teachers like them. A friend of mine, Michael Ruprich still remembers his time with Mr. Briede’s class back from 1997. He was there for Mr. Otten’s first year as principal, and remembers that the school was happy to see him become principal just like we all were when Mr. Ruffing became principal. For the seniors, he started as principal at Elder the year many of us were born, and it is only fitting he is going out of Elder the same year we are.