Willows, Calif.--This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and today we're recognizing a Willows High School teacher that has taught in the classroom for more than three decades.
He'll be retiring at the end of this school year and although he will no longer physically be there, students and staff say his legacy will always be part of the school.
"Would you say that you enjoyed art before you took his class? Definitely, definitely not," said Willows High School senior Christina Carriere.
Despite not liking art initially, she went on to take four years of it with long-time teacher, B.J. Boyd.
"It's really fun, entertaining for me to see those barriers broken down and to see their confidence grow," said Mr. Boyd.
Several students we spoke with said he a positive, charismatic, funny person and just someone they now see as a big brother.
"It just taught me how to be a better person overall because I can take his example of his positivity and how he takes things in life into my life and my perspective in life,” said Freddy Vargas, a senior at the school.
"To ask them did you know you could do this, two months, three months ago and knowing they're going to say I had no idea, those were the teacher moments that have been great," said Mr. Boyd.
After 34-years of those teacher moments, Mr. Boyd will soon say goodbye to the classroom many have described as a creative oasis.
"Part of my philosophy is spend an hour, and hour and a half with them, whenever I can and they take that excitement to their more academic classes," he said.
Despite the positive relationships he's developed, Mr. Boyd said teaching isn't always easy.
"If you're having a bad day, he'll cheer you up. And if you really don't want to talk, he'll respect that and I respect that about him," Carriere said.
"This is good therapy for them. I know to leave them alone if they're having that bad day, but it's a good place to chill as they say," Mr. Boyd said. It's a mutual respect that his colleagues said has helped him develop such a strong rapport with students.
"He really makes students and teachers really want to be their best selves," said Kendall Enns, an English teacher at the school.
Aside from teaching, Mr. Boyd has also designed all of the sports team’s shirts as well as several different murals that appear around the school. "The pride that he has to teach at Willows High School really reflects on all teachers and show us what a real teacher should be like and how we can impact our schools," said Staci Alves, a welding teacher at the school and former student of Mr. Boyd’s.
As his career comes to an end, the school is preparing for what's going to be a difficult goodbye. "He is a person I'm going to miss, and truly miss and it's going to be felt when he's gone next year," said principal David Johnstone.
"Congratulations, I'm glad we're leaving together, and thank you," said Carriere.
Mr. Boyd's last day will be on June 8 and his retirement plans include traveling with his wife, spending more time with his sons who live in Portland and potentially teaching art to children in China for two weeks.
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