Hopkinton Public Schools will be saying goodbye and good luck in retirement at the end of this school year to several teachers, a few of whom have been with the district for decades.
Valerie Lechtanski is one of those long-tenured teachers who will be retiring this year. Lechtanski, a chemistry teacher at Hopkinton High School, has been a teacher in the district for the past 32 years. Although she started at HHS teaching both biology and chemistry, Lechtanski moved to solely teach AP chemistry while serving as subject matter leader for the past 15 years.
Lechtanski also was the founder of one of the gems of HHS — the annual science fair.
“We started our first year with two students participating in the science fair,” she said. “Next year there are already 50 students signed up to participate.”
Over the past three decades, Lechtanski has seen a number of students come and go, but it is those that come back that she is especially proud of.
“Kristen Murphy (ninth grade chemistry teacher and current science fair director) was one of my students who took part in the science fair. Now she is a teacher here,” Lechtanski said. “That is very gratifying to see. I know I am leaving the department in good hands.”
Reflecting on her work, Lechtanski said it is the students that she will miss the most upon retirement. Everything from seeing the excitement on their faces when they connect the material to real world applications to seeing them achieve a goal that not may students can claim to have achieved.
“I loved going with the students to the International Science Fair. … To see them competing at that level and being recognized for their work is really exciting and something I will never forget,” she said.
Lechtanski plans to spend time with family and friends in her retirement, though she said she will miss the students and staff “tremendously.”
“The staff is the hardest working group of people I have ever known,” she said.
On the other side of the district, at the elementary level, the staff and students will be saying their farewells to another long-tenured teacher — Mark Boisvert.
Boisvert has been with the Hopkinton Public Schools for the past 33 years. He has taught Grades 3-5, and currently is a first-grade teacher at Marathon Elementary School. It’s a grade he has taught for the past 18 years. Boisvert also has served at the faculty representative for the Hopkinton Teachers Association for close to 18 years.
One of the highlights of his career is when he was able to connect his students with senior citizens in a special project to build bridges between the generations. For the past 27 years Boisvert has organized a pen pal program, matching students with seniors in a letter-writing project culminating in a meet-and-greet at the end of the year.
“So many of the kids these days live so far away from their grandparents and they don’t have that connection with seniors,” Boisvert said.
Boisvert added that although he will miss the kids and all the friends he has made in this time in the district, it is the support of the parents in the district he will miss the most of all.
“The parents here have always been so supportive; they have always been willing to help me out when I needed it,” he said. “Education has always been a number one priority for them.”
Boisvert plans to spend time traveling, visiting family and friends, and doing some volunteer work with seniors in the future.
The Hopkinton Public Schools also will be wishing a fond farewell to the following staff who will also be retiring from the district at the end of the school year: Jane Norton (HHS English teacher), Elizabeth Manning (HHS foreign language teacher), Linda Brooks (HMS science teacher), Kary Noble (HMS social studies teacher), Leslie Prior (Elmwood Grade 2 teacher), Nancy Fiorentino (Marathon School reading teacher) and Rita Balboa (HMS administrative secretary). Additionally, HHS custodian Larry Keane retired earlier this spring after 18 years on the job.