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Published 12/21/2004

A Lifetime of Making a Difference:
Retired High School Educators Spend Their Golden Years Helping Owens Findlay-area Campus Students

Owens Findlay-area Campus Part-Time Enrollment Services Advisors, often referred to as the five FINDLAY - Many retirees spend their golden years golfing or traveling the world. However, for five former high school educators, no relaxing pastime can compare to continuing what they have always had a passion for - helping students.

Dick Newcomer, Larry Reigle, Jerry Weber, Will Webb and Robert Asel, all Owens Findlay-area Campus Part-Time Enrollment Services Advisors and Findlay residents, have chosen to spend their retirement years assisting area residents in making their academic and career aspirations become a reality.

As veterans of educational wisdom, the five advisors have a considerable amount of experience in teaching and counseling K-12 students within the surrounding communities. Such experience is reflected in the group totaling more than 150 years of teaching and advising.

"We just love working with people," said Weber, a former Van Buren High School teacher and counselor who also spent five years as an education supervisor of student teachers at the University of Findlay. "All five of us enjoy using our abilities to help students as they grow and learn."

Weber added, "When each us retired from the K-12 setting we decided to continue our careers in education on a part-time basis. Owens was a perfect match. The College provides an environment that teaches self-sufficiency and offers a quality education for students."

According to Webb, who taught and counseled students at Riverdale High School, working at Owens offers a unique opportunity to work with a variety of students. "We advise traditional freshmen, as well as non-traditional students. I've found that Owens students are truly passionate about their educational careers and really want to learn."

Newcomer, who in addition to advising serves as an Adjunct Faculty Instructor at Owens, quite frankly states that if he didn't find the community college setting so satisfying would be spending more time enjoying retirement. "I like my job and the people I work with," said the former guidance counselor at Riverdale High School and Findlay's Central Middle School. "I've known the other advisors for more than 30 years. We're like a family."

The family-tie for two of the educators dates back to the 1960s when Webb and Newcomer spent a short time together as Riverdale High School educators from 1966-68. Webb taught government and history classes, while Newcomer served as the school's guidance counselor. When Newcomer moved onto a position as a guidance counselor at Central Middle School, Webb became Riverdale's new guidance counselor. By the late 1990s, all five of the "wise men" were united at Owens as one after another retired from K-12 education and became Part-Time Enrollment Services Advisors.

In addition to their positions at Owens, each advisor performs active roles within the professional and community setting. Newcomer is a lifelong member of both the National Education Association and the Ohio Education Association, and serves as a Board of Director for the Findlay branch of Diversion Adolescent Foster Care of Ohio. Reigle has performed grant writing and is heavily involved with Putnam County's First Response Project, a program dedicated to curbing absenteeism in schools through mediation and behavior modification activities. Webb has served as an elder and Sunday school teacher at Blanchard River Church of Christ for 25 years, while Weber has held various positions as a member of First Lutheran Church. Asel is the coordinator of music for the College First Church and serves as president of the Hancock County Retired Teachers Association.

The thought of not continuing a connectedness with the educational community is what brought Asel, a former guidance counselor for Findlay High School, out of retirement. "The enjoyment of being involved in people's lives motivates me," he stated. The current University of Findlay Adjunct Instructor concluded that the "Owens faculty, staff and students make this place special."

According to Reigle, who served as a guidance counselor/teacher and coach at Arcadia and Upper Sandusky high schools, "Working at Owens gives each of us a chance to once again help students succeed," he said. "We couldn't just sit in our rocking chairs and watch the world go by."

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 29 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo- area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non- credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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