Mr. Laake calls it quits

As all seniors know, Mr. Kenneth A. Laake, also known as KAL, is teaching his last semester of classes this year. Mr. Laake has been teaching for 44 years. He has covered the subjects of Lifestyles, Death/Life, Comparative Religions, and even English. Mr. Laake is the type of guy you can always get along with. He can make you laugh. He can make you cry. He can make you feel good about yourself. And sometimes, he will make you question who you are. “He is a great guy. We have our ups and downs but we’re still bros,” said star student Bill Macke, about one of his favorite teachers, Mr.Laake. Senior PJ Laake, who is the grandson of KAL, is one of the very few out of the family to come into the Purple Nation of the west side, come to school and maybe even play a sport or two. If you don’t know PJ, I recommend you grab a chair, sit down, and get talking because it will be worth it. Mr. Laake made plans awhile ago to retire after this year. He has had a wonderful ride. It was full of good time, bad times, memories, and who knows, maybe even a couple of arguments. He is sixty five years old and plans to call it quits after this year. Mr. Laake stands up for what he believes in all the time. He is a firm Pro-Life advocate. Taking innocent lives isn’t something that Mr. Laake is into; he hates it. As many may know, Mr. Laake organizes the trip where Elder students go to Washington D.C. Every year students get with him to sign up to go to the trip and stand up against abortion at the Pro-Life March. Talking to senior Johnny Lane, who has been going since eighth grade, had some words to say about Mr. Laake retiring. “Its definitely going to be a sad day when he retires. Hopefully someone steps up and takes charge of the trip. Its definitely worth going and I hope someone keeps the tradition alive,” Lane explained. As Lane said, the trip is something special here around Elder and kids love going on it every year. Maybe he will continue the trip even though he is leaving Elder. Back inhis prime, Mr Laake liked to play tennis. He would go home from a delightful day of teaching Elder students and head to the east side Deer Run Club and teach tennis. “Tennis was just a joy of mine. I loved playing it and I thought maybe I could teach others how to play as well and help them out by giving lessons.” Although I couldn’t catch up with the man himself to ask him one last question, I decided to ask around the senior class to see what people thought of the situation. Did Mr. Laake plan to retire the same year his grandson is graduating? Many thought that it would be a logical idea to do so and that it wouldn’t be a bad idea, so that PJ had the pleasure of being a student of his grandpa. Some say that it could just possibly be a coincidence. Whether they planned it out or not, in my opinion, it’s still a pretty cool way to go out and have your youngest grandson leave Elder with you. If you have never seen or talked to Mr. Laake, he always seems to be enjoying himself. He is always smiling, and saying hello to people as they walk by, or even striking up conversations with people. I got around to asking Mr. Laake what the biggest thing he will miss at Elder High School after he retires will be. “I think probably just being around the people. The people here are great,” said Laake. No matter what Mr. Laake does after retirement, when he goes he will definitely be remembered by many in the Elder community. I can honestly say I’m honored to have been in Mr. Laake’s class and even to be in his last one. I do wish that the classes after I’m gone could have him or even just get to know him. Mr. Laake is a phenomenal guy and the Elder community as well as myself wish him the best with his retirement plans.