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Ending on a high note: Park High School music teacher retiring

Peter Bergman, after 22 years of teaching band in School District 833 and the last three at Park, will retire in June. He wanted to have his picture taken with some of his band students. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

High points in Peter Bergman's 22-year career teaching band at Oltman Junior High and three years at Park High School came every day.

"It's rare when I don't have a moment during the day when I say, 'Yes, we got it,'" he said in an interview. "It energizes the students when they get it."

Bergman tells students when they don't get it and it stays with them, he said. "I think, as teachers, that that's what we're supposed to do."

Nearly every day in his teaching career he felt pride in making connections with students, he said.

His interest in music began very early in life when he was tall enough to reach the keys on the piano in his parent's home. Bergman plays accordion, trumpet, tuba, guitar and classical string bass.

Bergman was honored at Park on May 7, during Teacher Appreciation Week. Four other teachers also were honored. They included Greg Juba, 32 years at Park; Shannon Shea-LeTourneau, math department chair; Bob Bergan, retiring from technical education and moving to Montana this summer; and Mary Long, a paraprofessional for 22 years.

Bergman said he plans to "play with all his toys" in retirement, including his motorcycle. Last year, he put on 6,000 miles with his daughter, Sarah, who has Down syndrome. "She's a joy and so curious," he said. He and his wife, Jeanne, are also parents of children Lisa and John.

Bergman and his wife are avid "RV'ers" and like to visit national parks and historic places famous for events that took place in Colonial America between 1700 and 1800.

He also is looking forward to being in the wood-shop in his garage making speaker cabinets.

"I love to tinker," he said.

He'll also continue in music by giving private lessons, "which is where it all started."

A retirement party for Bergman will be held May 23 at Afton Apple Orchard. Tickets to the dinner and social hour, which must be purchased by Friday, May 18, can be bought by contacting Barb Koch or Jenny Sparks.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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