“Skip” says goodbye to LHS

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“Skip” says goodbye to LHS

Skip Atkinson

Skip Atkinson

Elsa Munster

Skip Atkinson

Elsa Munster

Elsa Munster

Skip Atkinson

Elsa Munster, Copyeditor

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Skip Atkinson will be retiring after this school year after working in the school district for 25 years, since 1994. He has worked specifically at LHS for seven years, with the last five of them as the study hall monitor.

Atkinson said he has always loved working with kids, and most of his career he taught and coached junior high students.

“In their own amazing little way, they’re all a little crazy,” Atkinson said about the junior high kids. “It was a blast.”

Atkinson has had many jobs, mostly in alternative education. He was a recreation director at a group home, school administrator at Juniper Hills High School in Nampa, and an education director at a psychiatric and chemical dependency hospital. He even taught math to violent sex offenders in a locked psychiatric setting.

“The most awesome thing is when somebody gets it — I think sometimes it’s hard to remember that human beings learn by making mistakes,” Atkinson said.

As a teacher, Atkinson has experienced amazing things, but he’s also dealt with some tragedies.

“The hardest thing is when a kid dies,” Atkinson said. ”You can lose yourself in prayer [. . .] but that’s kind of out of your hands at that point.”

One of Atkinson’s favorite memories at LHS, he said, was when he was working with special education students in math.

“This boy came in and said ‘Mr. Skip, guess what I learned in math today?’ He was so excited he was literally spitting as he talked.”

After Atkinson had told the boy to tell him what he had learned, the boy said, “I learned about injure turds!”

Atkinson was confused, but he realized the boy had meant “integers.”

“[The boy] had trouble with speech, especially when excited,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson had planned to retire two times before. Once was in 2012, but he then got the opportunity to work as a school administrator for the juvenile detention center in Lewiston. He for sure thought he was going to retire after that.

“I was at the beach up at Priest Lake with my wife, we saw a retired teacher and told us that there was a study hall job opening at LHS,” he said.

He had only planned to work in the LHS study hall for one year in 2014. But now he has reached the end to five years as the study hall monitor.

“Another big part of my decision to retire is that my wife has been retired for three years, so it’s just a good time to do so too,” he said.

Atkinson is married to Beth Fitzgerald Atkinson, who taught English and drama at LHS until 2016.

After retirement, Skip Atkinson plans on backpacking, working in his wood and metal shop, taking classes for writing and photography, and working at a fire watch lookout in the summers.

“I really enjoy getting lost in the wilderness — I’m just looking forward going to the outdoors doing tons of stuff,” he said. “I have good dogs, a good wife, a good camper — it will be a blast.

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