By Gabriel Hines
Whether it’s Peachie-O’s, bees, goats, or the FFA, almost anyone in the Union community can find a connection with Louis Beck.
Beck announced earlier this year that this, his 21st year, would be his last. The announcement of his retirement was followed by waves of sorrow, as most residents in the area consider him the best agricultural teacher around.
We have Beck’s high school agriculture teacher, Irv Meier, to thank for Beck’s many years of service. Beck, who was originally planning on becoming a veterinarian, said that making the switch over to Agricultural Education was the best decision he ever made.
After 21 years, Beck has, for the most part, decided which classes he enjoys the most. Animal Science and Horticulture are two of his favorite classes to teach.
Although he will miss teaching, there are things Beck won’t miss.
“The early mornings definitely won’t be missed,” Beck said.
Beck understands that he may not have his good health forever, so being able to retire while still being healthy was a big factor in his decision.
Travis Fleshner, the Union CSD superintendent, stated that he was very sorry to hear about Beck’s retirement, but that he is also excited for all the plans Beck has.
The bond between Beck and Fleshner isn’t a new one. When Fleshner was the Principal at Union High School, he would run marathons with Beck.
“Mr. Beck, Mr. Wigg, and myself did a triathlon together. Mr. Wigg did the rowing, I did the cycling, and Mr. Beck did the running. It was definitely a lot of work but it was well worth it.” he said
Fleshner, who is in charge of the re-hiring process, said it wasn’t a decision he made lightly.
“I couldn’t simply pick his replacement and be done with it; a lot went into my decision. Our FFA program is a big and in-depth one, and I wanted the new agriculture teacher to be able to pick up the reigns and guide the program down the right path.” he stated
Beck will be traveling all over, thanks to Hawkeye Community College, who will be sending him to every which way to help make connections for agriculture. Similar to Beck’s trip to Kosovo last year, the goal is to help other countries improve their agricultural abilities and maybe learn a thing or two for back here at home.
Beck plans on spending the rest of his retirement with his bees, goats, and wife, Pat Beck.
“Of course, I will always be available to help with the FFA chapter if you should need me,” Beck said.
“You’d be hard pressed to find a student at this school who won’t miss him,” Parker Wilson, a junior at Union High School stated. “Most of the kids here have taken at least one of his classes and enjoyed every day of it. We are definitely going to miss him.”
Congratulations and good luck on your retirement Mr. Beck!