Blackwell, Dodge among VHS teachers to retire


Bailey Peck and Sailor Hawes

As the school year starts to come to an end, a couple of Ventura High School staff members are ready to say goodbye. Many VHS staff are retiring, including Karen Blackwell and Joan Dodge.

English teacher Karen Blackwell has worked at VHS for twenty-four years. In total, Blackwell has been teaching for over thirty five years.

“My favorite part is [the] students [and] getting to know them. And also, teaching English and Literature,” said Blackwell, reflecting on her favorite part about working at VHS.

Blackwell added that she has really enjoyed seeing her students get excited about learning in her classroom over the years.

After she retires, Blackwell plans to read, exercise, remodel her house, and travel a lot.

Along with Blackwell, counselor Joan Dodge is retiring. Dodge has worked at Ventura High School for twelve years. Like Blackwell, her favorite part about working at VHS has been the students.

When asked what she planned to do after she retires, Dodge said “[I] don’t need an office to do what [I] do, I talk to people.”

Dodge also plans to still be involved with students and staff from VHS: “I’ll still help out the tennis team. I used to coach the tennis team but I gave it up five years ago and so this past season I got asked to be an assistant so I’ve been hanging out with the kids there.” Dodge also described working with the tennis team as a type of therapy.

    After she retires, Dodge says, “I also wanted to be a ski bum… I always wanted to stay a month or two right at the base of the ski slopes.”

As for her students, she does not know who they will have as a counselor next year. However, she still says that she will leave the pictures of her students up in her office for the new counselor to see and get to know who their kids are. She loves that kids have fun coming into her office and seeing how they have grown up over four years, and believes that it is important for the staff as well to see.

Of the many teachers retiring, Blackwell and Dodge were willing to share their reasoning and their retirement plans: