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Chuck Brooks column: Thinking back to the beginning

I don't believe I've ever shared with you the story of the summer I was hired in this district. It's impossible to tell this story without including Mom, but she really isn't my focus here. Sorry Mom. (He said with a smile)

As you know, I hail from southern Wisconsin. As would be logical, I applied in a lot of districts near me. However, a job was a job, and I was sorely ready to get into the classroom. My advisor in college had told me about District 196, at that time a two-high school district. She said it was a growing district, and the job security in such a place would be promising. Honestly, moving from Wisconsin to Minnesota was never even a consideration. Growing up in a small town, I was thinking more along the lines of a small community. The idea of living in the Twin Cities was intimidating. However, I mailed my materials without much hesitation.

It was June of 1982. I was at home with Mom and Dad. I got two phone calls to come interview at both Rosemount and Apple Valley. My mom was home as she was going through a round of chemo and radiation treatments, forcing her to take a little time off. Dad asked me to take her along as she had been feeling a little down about her situation, so I did. She joined me on my trek to the scary metro.

I remember it was a hot day. Driving to Minnesota was going to be a first-time experience for both of us. We came via Prescott and Hastings. I remember that well because Mom had suggested a more scenic route when possible.

When we arrived at the top of Hwy. 3, we saw this incredible campus of RHS. We were caught off guard by its beauty. My excitement level was incredibly high, as was my nervousness quotient. There were trees at that time separating the parking lots, and I parked under a nice shade tree for Mom's sake as I went in for the interview. Frankly, I don't remember how long it took, but when I came out, Mom was definitely ready for the AVHS interview. We headed to Apple Valley High School. Finding shade for Mom wasn't as easy a task.

I remember being given a tour of the building for that interview. I don't remember too much about either interview otherwise. A couple of weeks passed, and I received a second call from both schools for a second interview. I was scheduled to meet at RHS first; they offered me the job on the spot, so the second interview for AVHS never even happened.

The rest is history. As year 32 is on the verge of beginning, I am thinking about the future, and where the heck 31 years went. It seems I was destined to teach at RHS for my career. Initially, I never really saw myself staying here this long, but lo and behold. Funny how all of a sudden it's 31 years later. Nary a regret, though.

The superintendent from my hometown district was about one week late with his phone call 31 years ago, offering me a job. As nice as it would have been to be closer to home with Mom sick, it still all worked out the way it was supposed to. Those 31 years have gone by about as quickly as this summer has. Ugh.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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