Fran Long has served in the Fort Dodge Community School District since 1971. After 42 years as a science instructor at Fort Dodge Senior High, he is retiring.
"I've enjoyed coming to school every day," he said. "I have been blessed to have good kids and an excellent science department, excellent colleagues. It's been a great ride."
Long has many proud moments in his years as an educator.
"I've been able to plant, as a botany instructor, a lot of trees around the high school," he said. "The National Honor Society and the science department have sponsored blood drives, so we have had two blood drives a year for over 30 years. That would be 60 blood drives, times 100 each time. About 6,000 units of blood have been collected at Fort Dodge Senior High, and many of those students have gone on to become lifelong donors."
A pleasure for Long has been the privilege to work alongside his wife, Barbara Long. Also an educator at FDSH, she is retiring with him.
"It's given us a lot of things to interact about, a lot of shared stories," he said. "My three kids all graduated from senior high, and they all received a fine education. It's great."
Having educated so many students, Long sees many of them still in the community, now as professional adults.
"One of my doctors, my dentist, my veterinarian, many nurses who have cared for me, are ex-students," he said. "That's kind of cool. When I go across the street to the Villa, I'll probably see more students there."
Long has witnesses many changes that have affected what he has taught.
"The parts of the body have not changed in 42 years, but the knowledge of them has changed tremendously," he said. "The knowledge of the diseases, the disorders, the approach to things. The Internet, Google images, YouTube, those things have changed very much what I do on a day-to-day basis."
Ask why he is retiring, Long said he did not know.
"Sometimes I still ask myself that question," he said. "I'll be looking for some kind of opportunity in the future. We don't know what that's going to be yet. My wife and I both consider ourselves very young. Our students have kept us young. Interacting with teenagers every day will do that to you."
He added, "We are not people that have counted the days until we retire. I guess now I have a good idea how many days are left."
Long said he will miss teaching.
"Without a doubt," he said. "I've enjoyed every day getting up and coming to work. That I will miss. And my wife feels exactly the same way."