Brouwer bids farewell

Riley Hyatt, News Editor

Last week, with tears in her eyes and adopted daughter, sophomore Grace Branson, by her side, SHS principal Barbara Brouwer announced to staff members that she would be retiring from the position she says she has had the privilege of having for the past nine and a half years.

Although the decision was not easy, Brouwer believes the choice to retire is what is best for her and her family at this time. The ways in which she has helped SHS progress and the impact she’s had on students and teachers will be remembered even after she steps down as the beloved leader SHS Cardinals have looked to for years.

Because of health issues that have recently affected her immediate family, Brouwer feels her family needs her now more than ever. She is ready to finally put her health and the health of her family as the first priority in her life.

“Cancer has hit my immediate family and when those that are the closest to you have a life threatening disease, it definitely changes your outlook on life,” Brouwer said.

Brouwer says the atmosphere at SHS is different than any other school she has visited and the relationships she has created with the students and her colleagues and the impact she has had on them as a whole are so significant that it makes leaving the career she loves much harder.

Math teacher Patricia Blake has been working in Perry Township for 45 years, the most of any other employee, and recognizes the change that occurred when Brouwer began working at SHS.

“Before she was here we had some problems with… attitudes. The feeling around school wasn’t that friendly, and when she came it became a much nicer place to work,” Blake said. “It’s pretty much a relaxed atmosphere, and we’re always free to go in and talk to her about anything.”

But the experiences she has with the 2,102 students that roam the halls everyday are what give Brouwer the most fulfilling feeling.

“What I value is the day-to-day interaction with random kids in this building,” Brouwer said.

Perhaps the student’s life that Brouwer has played the most significant role in is Branson’s. Branson realizes that the step-mother who has helped her through academic and personal issues with friends has also helped SHS become better as a whole too.

“I think Ms. Brouwer has really affected the school in a very positive way,” Branson said. “She made the school more well rounded…A lot more people are focused on getting to class and trying to get good grades and do the right thing instead of slacking off.

Although Brouwer feels she’s played a role in the pride students have in their school and the freedoms she’s been allowed to give to students, there is one thing that Brouwer seems to have not had such a drastic impact on.

“I wish that kids would clean up their trays in the cafeteria. That still hasn’t happened.”