Right at home in Hillsboro teaching fourth grade

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Posted: Friday, October 5, 2018 6:00 am

Well, well, well, look who is teaching in Hillsboro! Much like the time I said I was “never” going to have children, or that time I said I would “never” buy a minivan, or that time I said I would “never” teach in Hillsboro, I was wrong.

As I stand here before you today, I admit, succumbing to some of my “nevers” turned out to be the best decisions I ever made. (Well, maybe not the minivan).

As many of you know I have been a teacher/principal in Fargo since 1999.

If you do not know, this year I am the proud and blessed teacher of a fourth-grade section here in Hillsboro

 I have literally taught thousands of students at this stage in my career.

Yes, that makes me feel old. My family and I moved from Fargo back to Hillsboro about 15 years ago and I have since been commuting to Fargo to carry out my duty of “bringing home the bacon.”

In all of those years of commuting to Fargo I imagine I was asked by community members no less than 100 times, “Why don’t you teach in Hillsboro?”

My normal responses were somewhat vague but usually stemmed from the fact that after so many years in the Fargo district I really could not afford to work in Hillsboro; the money and benefits were just too good in Fargo.

My other go-to response had to do with the fact that I did not have to worry about minding my P’s and Q’s at sporting events and social gatherings because I did not work in town.

If you have been to a sporting event, ever, you’ve heard me. I admit, I’m excitable!

Yes, it seems silly to me now too, but it somehow made sense for 15 years.

Back to the point of me saying never and always being oh-so-wrong.

On more than one occasion, in general conversation, I am quite certain I said, “I will never work in Hillsboro as a teacher.”

But, you know what happens? Age happens. Life happens. Money, unlike time, somehow seems to be consistent but before you know it what you really cannot afford is time. 

I am talking about that small-town quality time I robbed myself and others of. 

Time with my wife. Time with my kids. Time with my mom. Time with my nieces and nephews. Time with all of my relatives!

And yes, time with the Hillsboro community and all of their kids. If you do the math on 15 years of commuting you will be disgusted by all the hours spent in the car, away from people.

The first month of teaching fourth grade in Hillsboro has truly been my best back-to-school yet.

The administration has been outstanding. The staff is unbelievable. The students! I am blown away by the kids that walk the halls of Hillsboro Elementary. You have no idea the quality of those 40-plus little leaders who are sitting in those two fourth-grade classrooms right now. 

What I thought would be awkward at the grocery store – “Hey, it’s Mr. Longthorne!” – has been heartwarming and uplifting. 

Going to sporting events and having Hillsboro kids, your kids and my kids, all cheering with me – it is an amazing feeling for a guy who said he would “never” teach in this town.

In short, I leave you with this.

Thank you Hillsboro.

Thank you for choosing me to work with you and your kids.

Thank you for making me eat my words again by proving to me that time is what I cannot afford!

Take my word for it, and this time I believe it, with all this world has to offer, NEVER put anything before time with those you care about the most.

I am excited and humbled to be working in Hillsboro and I cannot believe I waited this long. 

I feel that this quote from Coach O sums up exactly how I am feeling. “It’s a great time to be a Burro, baby. ... Let’s go!”

Longthorne teaches fourth grade at Hillsboro Elementary School.

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