The Rocky Hill Public Schools said good bye to two teachers with more than 60 years of teaching experience this week.
The board of education officially accepted the retirements of social studies teacher Richard Bruneau and chemistry/physics teacher Kathleen Kennedy at its meeting Thursday night.
High School Principal Mario Almeida said he was "honored to recognize" the accomplishments of Bruneau and Kennedy, but sad to see them go.
"You can't replace them," he said. "Not only the years, but the passion that these two bring. As long as I have known them, they are amazing teachers."
Bruneau has taught history for 33 years with 31 of them at Rocky Hill High School. He was best known for his world politics classes as well as many AP courses. He has been a program supervisor for the history department for past several years and the meetings were "never dull with Rich there," Almeida said.
"Rich is still writing curriculum and has taught every course at every level," Almeida said. Bruneau will continue as the golf coach for the high school and has served as Literary Magazine advisor and teachers' union president.
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"I have said to Rich many times, in all the schools that I have worked, he is the only union member I actually look forward to seeing," Almeida said. "Rich is a friend and a colleague."
Kennedy has taught chemistry and physics for 31 years with 20 of them at Rocky Hill High School. Over her tenure, she has been a class advisor multiple times, a scorer for swimming and the coordinator for several years, which she is expected to continue doing. She was also an original member of the advisory group.
"She does everything at the high school," Almeida said. "Kathy can name every student, where they sat, where their seat was, who their lab partner was for the plus many years that she has been teaching."
Kennedy said she is going to miss the students and colleagues, but has a pretty full slate of things to keep her busy.
"I want to be remembered by my former students as having an influence on their lives," she said "I want them to look back and say I am happy that I had her."
Kennedy was also "thrilled" that the . Kennedy before many of them .
"It is much needed. The lab situation is really tight and it is going to be nice to get some more room," she said.
Kennedy is expected to spend time with her grandson, Payton, as well as continue her volunteer efforts as the president of the Friends of , which she has been associated with for 25 years.
"I plan to spend more time doing work over there," Kennedy said. She is also part of a book club, tennis group and golf organization.
"As one of my colleagues once said, how do you have time to teach," she said. "So I know I will be spending a lot of time doing what I want to do and enjoy my time."
Kennedy added that she "loves to cook."
"I have heard that she is an amazing chef and housekeeper so I am expected to be invited to her house this summer," Almeida joked.
Bruneau said he has not "ruled out" teaching on part-time basis and looks forward to playing golf and traveling to see his four children during his retirement.
"It is kinda bittersweet. I am going to miss teaching and the kids a lot," he said. "And all the friends I have made teaching, but it is time to start a new adventure."