Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

BLHS teacher wins state award

Art Wells named high school teacher of the year in Kansas

March 11, 2004

It seems state judges realized what generations of students at Basehor-Linwood High School have known for a while-- that Art Wells is a great teacher.

Wells, a science teacher at the high school for the last 35 years and as permanent a fixture there as the Bobcat mascot, is the winner of a prestigious state teaching award.

During a ceremony Monday, April 12, the Kansas Veterans of Foreign Wars will present Wells its Teacher of the Year for the high school division.

"It's nice to be recognized," said Wells, "but there are a lot of people that need to be recognized for what they've done."

LeRoy Scharnhorst, a science teacher at the high school for the past five years, nominated Wells for the award and doesn't speak as modestly about his colleague's accomplishment.

"He's on his third or fourth generation for people in this area, and I've heard people say nothing but good things about him," Scharnhorst said.

Wells has not only been influential in the lives of his students but also fellow teachers. Scharnhorst was a first-year teacher and Wells "showed me the ropes when he didn't have to."

Wells began teaching in Basehor in 1969, when just 175 students were enrolled at the high school.

Today, the student population is approaching 600.

During a recent trip to a convenience store in town, Wells had a particularly strange moment that capsulated his tenure in Basehor.

He ran into two students at the store, one that's in his class this year and another that was his student in 1969.

You don't become a teacher for the financial rewards, Wells said, but the job does come with its perks.

"Part of the time (it's rewarding) when you see someone you had in class and they've grown up to become successful adults and good human beings," Wells said.

Since day one, Wells has engulfed himself in the community and the school district.

He and his family moved to Basehor in 1982, and he's not only taught at the high school but coached everything from basketball to wrestling to football to track.

Oh, and there's been an assortment of science clubs and other extracurricular activities Wells has sponsored or volunteered time in.

"It's nice to go back and look at the things I've got to do and the kids I've got to work with," Wells said. "I've had a chance to do a lot of different things and it's been pretty cool."

Perhaps one of the secrets to his longevity in education is participating in various activities during school and after. One of his trademarks in teaching is conducting various experiments with his students.

On this day, he's designed a science experiment which burns food to measure calories.

Out of the classroom, Wells has found plenty to keep him busy. This year, it's helping coach wrestling at Basehor-Linwood Middle School.

"Being involved in different things kind of keeps you going," he said. "Trying to do a mixture of things is important."

As for the future, it's anyone's guess. For now, Wells doesn't see himself retiring from the only profession he's ever known.

"I don't know," he said. "I enjoy teaching and I want to keep doing it. I'm hoping that, for the most part, it will continue to be fun. Like a lot of jobs, it's up and down, but I still enjoy the people I work with and the kids."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.