COLUMBIA CITY â€” Heâ€™s undoubtedly the most popular teacher at Churubusco Junior Senior High School and while on top, heâ€™s retiring.
Gary Smith knows when to exit, stage left.
â€śIâ€™m on the top of my game and I know this is the right time to retire,â€ť said Smith, a social studies teacher.
Smith took over at CJSHS when long-time teacher Paul Daily retired 22 years ago.
Smith served four years in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from Indiana University in 1980.
â€śI taught for five years at North Harrison High School in the southern part of Indiana. Then it was four years at Mishawaka High School and then I moved to Churubusco,â€ť said Smith. During his social studies career at Churubusco, he has worked with six different superintendents and seven principals.
Smith enjoys interacting with the students the most.
â€śThese kids are great. Ninety-eight percent of the students are parented well,â€ť he said.
Smith has served as the senior sponsor and football coach. He also served as the social studies chairman for many years and as president in the Churubusco Teachers Association.
â€śIn the last few years of teaching, and when the gray hair started, I realized I wanted to concentrate more in the classroom rather than the extra-curricular activities,â€ť he said. â€śPeople donâ€™t realize the amount of time it takes to be a football coach. It takes a lot of time and weâ€™ve got a great bunch of young coaches now.â€ť