HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – If you ask John Brown, 80, where he is happiest, he’d likely say Hutchinson High School.

Teacher John Brown in the 1960s (Courtesy: John Brown)

The earth science teacher started his career with USD 309 in 1963. First, at Sherman Junior High School. About a year later, he took on a teaching role at Hutchinson High School. He’s been there ever since.

“I don’t know if I slowed down any in the classroom or anything. I think it keeps me young, mentally,” laughed Brown.

Brown, who will turn 81 in November, said that thanks to his good health, he’s able to continue his career, something that has involved much more than teaching.

Brown served as the head of the science club for decades taking his students on numerous field trips across the nation. He also has a knack for photography, and he used it to film Hutchinson High School football games for about 40 years. For many years, he used a 16-millimeter camera.

Teacher John Brown explains how the 16-millimeter camera works.

“We had to change the film during the game and then send it to a processor, and then we would have to go get the film when they were finished,” Brown explained.

While technology and the pace of society have changed during Brown’s career, his passion for teaching has not.

“I enjoy it. I have great kids. The administration at Hutch High and the facility, it’s a very positive feeling,” he said. “I was told at one time in college, they said, ‘whenever you start someplace, try to pick a place that is positive,’ and that’s very true.”

To this day, Brown’s favorite part of his job is when a student has one of those “aha” moments. That, and when he sees his former students succeeding, something he said happens quite frequently.

“The first group of kids I had is 73 right now, and I have gone to some of their retirement parties,” Brown chuckled. “My insurance agent was one of my students. My electrician was one of my students.”

Soon, Brown will host a retirement party of his own. After 59 years, he will finish his career with the Hutchinson School District in February 2023. What will he do in his free time?

“I will probably drive by the school,” he laughed.

Brown said his wife enjoys traveling, so he may take her up on a few excursions, but ultimately he is happy to have served his community for nearly six decades.

“It’s been a very good run,” he said.