Memories flood back as Noah's Ark teacher retires
Longtime teacher at Noah's Ark preschool, Bonnie Klopp, is retiring at the end of this school year.
A community open house is planned at 5 p.m. Friday, June 3, at St. Luke's Church in New Richmond. A program celebrating Klopp's impact on generations of local kids will begin at 6:30 p.m.
"All former students, former parents and grandparents can stop by and enjoy the celebration," Klopp said. "And say goodbye."
After 40 years of teaching, with 26 of those years at Noah's Ark, Klopp said the time was right for retirement.
"My parents both passed away, and my husband (Bill) fell off the roof and broke his femur," Klopp said. "I just figured it was time to retire and take some time to do things together."
Klopp and her husband plan to travel, and spend more time at their cabin up north.
"We also will be doing some community service and still work at the church," she added.
With Klopp's retirement, the closure of Noah's Ark will also occur.
"It's a real bittersweet time for me," Klopp admitted about the end of the preschool. "But I'm glad people have other options. There are lots of other resources in town for child care, preschool and Christian education."
Klopp started Noah's Ark at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in 1985.
Vicki Schurke, wife of Klopp's dentist Mark Schurke, asked Klopp to start a preschool with her. Vicki left after two years, but Klopp has remained with the early childhood program during its entire existence.
"Noah's Ark has been a wonderful way to meet people in New Richmond," Klopp said. "We have a lot of valuable families here. Everybody loves their kids and wants what's best for them."
When Klopp started teaching the kids of some of her former preschool students, she took it as a sign that it was time to move on.
But as retirement approaches, Klopp said she knows it will be tough adjusting.
"I'll miss the kids," she admitted. "They're like my grandkids."