HANGING UP THE CHALK: Teacher Gary Smith retires from 'Busco

COLUMBIA CITY — He’s undoubtedly the most popular teacher at Churubusco Junior Senior High School and while on top, he’s retiring.Gary Smith knows when to exit, stage left.“I’m on the top of my game and I know this is the right time to retire,” 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.“I 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,” 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.“These kids are great. Ninety-eight percent of the students are parented well,” 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.“In 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,” he said. “People don’t realize the amount of time it takes to be a football coach. It takes a lot of time and we’ve got a great bunch of young coaches now.”