Central High Teacher set to retire after 42 years leaves lasting impact on students and families
Central High, Okla. (TNN) - Central High Agriculture teacher, Ron Curry, has played a balancing act for many years-walking a fine line between being a tough teacher in the classroom while not taking himself too seriously.
His former student, Cooper McCarley, said Curry inspired him to work to be accepted into Oklahoma State University and graduate with degree in engineering.
What he recalls most about Curry was his style.
“He’s a one of a kind, so if you catch him in a crowd you can pick him out because he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt always. So that’s just kind of his signature. If you’re at the stock show, everybody knows you can find Mr. Curry, just look for the bright flowery colored shirt and that’s him,” McCarley said.
Former student, LeeAnn Johnson said Curry has a tough exterior but a soft heart. She said Curry pushed her to compete in an FFA Speech competition despite her reluctance and nerves.
“I was a nervous wreck and he got me a pet rock to help calm my nerves and I still have that pet rock,” she said.
She went on to win first in the state for that competition and credits Curry for bringing out her leadership skills which she used to become a teacher herself and then a school principle.
Curry has high standards for students.
“I have certain expectations and if all you want to do is come out and goof off and do nothing-this is not the place-they need to be somewhere else because we’re trying to teach you how to live, where to go and how to make yourself a better person,” he said.
And while his students might not like the rules he set, he they usually end up coming back to him years after they graduate-to thank him, he said, for pushing them to be more than what they believed they could be.
Kenneth Kleins’ son and grandson were Curry’s students. He said Curry is a leader both in the classroom and in the community, having his students work with him to donate food to their local food pantry or buying Christmas presents for underprivileged children. He said when his parents died and later his son it was Curry who spoke at their funerals.
“When one of us looses a loved one he represents and his students represent at the funeral and it’s really touching, you know you just don’t forget those things,” Klein said.
He said when Curry announced that he would retire in May, the small township of around 12-hundred people planned a retirement party for their beloved teacher and set out to ensure that his contributions wouldn’t go unrecognized.
Curry said after he retires this May, he hopes to take his Hawaiian shirt and his wife around the world.
He said his wish for his students remains the same today as it was when he first began teaching.
“Be proud of yourselves and go on to do great things for the community, and the county and the state,” he said. “Just make our world a better place.”
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