Dec. 20 was a bittersweet day for Scott Hahn, fifth-grade teacher at Manawa Elementary School. It was his last day teaching students in the district.
Hahn, who was in his 16th year of teaching in the Manawa School District, submitted his resignation letter on Nov. 27, effective Jan. 1, 2014. The school board accepted his resignation at its Dec. 16 meeting.
Before leaving, Hahn reflected on his 16 years in the district and community, as well as his plans for the future.
When he originally took the teaching job in the Manawa School district, it was his first teaching job after graduating from UW-La Crosse. He taught second grade his first year in Manawa and had 12 students in his class. From there he taught third grade for eight years, and then fourth grade until this school year, when he began teaching fifth grade.
Hahn admitted he didn’t know where Manawa was when he applied for the job. He was applying for teaching jobs all over.
“I had not connections. It was whoever was going to give me a job, that’s where I was going to go start,” Hahn said.
Originally from Lodi, Hahn said moving to Manawa was a big change, but it also had a familiar feel.
“It was smaller [than Lodi] but yet still had the same small town feel which is what I really liked about it,” he said.
When Hahn first took the teaching job in Manawa 16 years ago, he said he wasn’t sure how long he would be Manawa.
“It’s hard to tell because at that time I was young and I always wanted to get back home yet,” Hahn said. “I just got so involved in things. The first couple years I got involved in coaching wrestling and baseball. You build rapports, make those things happen and time flies. All of a sudden you turn around and it’s five or six years, then it’s 10, then it’s 12, and now here we are at 16.
“I don’t know if I thought I’d be here forever but in the same token it’s been a good stay with the parents and kids in the community. It’s been very welcoming.”
Hahn will be moving to La Crosse where he will teach at Chileda Institute. He will be teaching children and young adults with multiple disabilities.
Leaving the kids he has gotten to know made the decision to leave the district a tough one.
“We built a lot of relationships over here over 16 years,” Hahn said. “Coaching, summer school, city rec. That was the tough part because every time I thought of it, I thought, ‘Man, how am I going to tell those kids.’
“They’re good kids. I’ve had some of these kids for a year and a half now, teaching both fourth and fifth grade. This community builds relationships.”
The decision to leave was tough, but it was one that Hahn felt he had to make.
“We’ve had a lot of changes in our district, not necessarily with teaching staff,” Hahn said. “We’ve seen revolving doors of a lot of types. Sometimes those changes just catch up with you. It’s not educational changes, and it’s not teaching changes. Everything just kind of caught up. I made a call over there because I know some people over there.”
Hahn said he is proud of the teaching staff he has worked with over the years.
“I wish that every community member and school board member and administrator could see these teachers on a daily basis and see what they do,” he said. “I’m proud that they’re here and that they’re still making a difference and still committed to these kids.”
He said the Manawa community has been very supportive of him as an individual, and there are many things he will remember about his time teaching in Manawa.
“One of the neatest things is to see kids now grown up and they say, ‘Remember when we did this?’ To create those adults and you know that you’ve been a part of that. That’s a neat thing,” Hahn said.