22-year South veteran Mr. Carroll to retire next year

Mr.+Carroll+teaching+this+year

Iris Kreilkamp

Mr. Carroll teaching this year

Celie Kreilkamp, Staff Writer

What do US history, ROTC, and sheep herding all have in common?

South US History teacher Pat Carroll.

Next year, this longstanding fixture of the BHSS history department will be retiring. Optimist looks back on Carroll’s life and career from a small town in Northern Indiana to serving in Germany to teaching in Saudi Arabia. 

What was your time in the Army like?

I got to travel a lot and see interesting things. My units patrolled the border between East and West Germany and Czechoslovakia– back when there were such things. 

Did you know you wanted to be a teacher when you were a kid? 

Absolutely not. When I came back to my high school reunion in Rochester, Ind. after the Army, you know, I hadn’t been there for 20 years or so. So when I saw all my old friends, they thought it was the funniest thing that I was teaching because I hated school. You know, I hated teachers. They were the enemy. It was my job in high school to make them miserable.

So what changed?

I’m not sure. When you’re in the military as an officer, a lot of the time you’re a teacher as well. My last assignment in the Army was teaching ROTC at a university, and after I was out I actually went and worked in Saudi Arabia teaching. There wasn’t any sort of magic moment, it was just something I decided to do.

Do you think you brought your knowledge from the army to teaching high school?

Not really. It’s different, obviously. Students don’t have to do what you tell them the way soldiers do. But the idea of standards is the same. And I think I brought an exposure to the outside world.

What are you excited to do in retirement?

Doing whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t get bored, so I can enjoy just sitting around spending nine hours reading, or working on my stamp collection or whatever. But I also work and volunteer at PALS, an equine therapy center. So I’m going to definitely spend more time volunteering and picking up some extra hours. Working with horses is definitely a new big learning thing for me. I love being outside, I love the physical labor of it, I love learning about horses. Also, I’m assuming sometime I’ll have a new dog. So we’ll do more training for herding. There’s a place down in Southern Indiana where we do sheep herding lessons. So I’m excited to spend more time with my dog.

What has been your favorite thing about working at South?

You know, something that really impressed me is how students are dedicated to things like volunteering. When I was in high school, nobody ever would have helped with a program in special education, or done a combined track (Unified Track) or anything like that. And also just the little ways that people express themselves here. One year my AP students decided to start a desk-decorating contest. Or when I make some lame joke and someone will try to top it. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. You know, it’s the people you meet, the connections you make. And over 20 years, you make a lot of connections. This has been a great place to work.