Catching Up with Mrs. Hoopes

Her Journey of Rediscovery and New Beginnings
Catching Up with Mrs. Hoopes

The 2022-23 school year marked the end of an era as Mrs. Hoopes, beloved AP Biology teacher of 21 years. From a full family of GLSD graduates, she graduated in 1982, along with her husband, and her three children in 2006, 2013, and 2015. Now she loves to come back to GLSD as a substitute while maintaining the freedom of retirement.

In a heartfelt conversation with Mrs. Hoopes, a retired teacher from the community of GLSD, gained was a deeper understanding of the ups and downs that came with transitioning into retirement.

Mrs. Hoopes shared her initial excitement for retirement, only to find herself “feeling lost and unfulfilled without the structure and social interactions that teaching provided.” She explained, “Winter came and I was bored out of my mind and I just started getting very complacent and sad that I wasn’t with people.”

As she navigated this new chapter in her life, unexpected changes happened. Her husband’s decision to work remotely post-COVID was not a part of her retirement plan.

Since retirement, she and her husband planned to downsize and move to their house at Cheat Lake. The idea was to later purchase a smaller, easy-to-manage house in Greensburg and split time between the two. Unfortunately, the challenging housing market has stalled their envisioned timeline.

A transformative bike trip with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law provided a much-needed spark of joy and adventure. Exploring Napa Valley, riding along the Pacific Coast Highway, and experiencing the charm of San Francisco lifted her spirit and reminded her of the joy of new experiences post-professional career.

On the first day, they rode along Napa, California, and then all of Napa Valley stopping at some wineries along the way. Next, they went to Redwood National Forest and enjoyed seeing the incredible trees and nature.

Additionally, they ventured on the Pacific Coast Highway. “We were actually on the highway and you could ride the coast. That was really, really cool! It was like the movies. In the movies where the fog is coming off the water in the morning. It was so beautiful!” expressed Mrs. Hoopes.

This adventure was a much-needed time for Mrs. Hoopes, before settling into becoming a grandmother.

The arrival of two precious grandbabies, Beau and Luca, born exactly two weeks apart, brought a new sense of purpose and joy to Mrs. Hoopes’s life.

Embracing her role as a grandmother, she enjoys nurturing and bonding with her grandchildren, savoring the moments of play and connection. Currently in the infant stage of four and four and a half months old, Mrs. Hoopes enjoys singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

She watches her daughter’s son twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. Mrs. Hoopes added, “He loves to be sung to. That’s his favorite thing. He’ll look up at me and I really enjoy this bonding time.”

Adding to the family excitement since retirement, her youngest son’s engagement added a touch of celebration and anticipation for the future.

Yet through all of the excitement of summer trips and family time, winter brought a sense of boredom and prompted Mrs. Hoopes to contemplate returning to work. The sense of solitude and not having a daily work routine took a toll.

She thought this retirement would allow her to do anything she wanted when she wanted to do it, but soon discovered she was truly bored without daily interactions with others.

Mrs. Hoopes substituting in GLHS, catching up and socializing with students

Contemplating going out to get a job to keep her busy, she realized why not come back to the place she loved. As a result, Mrs. Hoopes decided to pick up some substitute teaching opportunities.

“I miss the interactions. I like getting to know students. That was part of my job. It’s not the biology. We learned biology, don’t get me wrong, but it was also the bond. My students enjoyed coming in and doing things. We got to know each other. We learned biology along the way. I think at the end of it all, what you learn here is you learn about people. You learn about interacting. You learn how to handle yourself in the world. What you learn here academically changes you in your life and your surroundings,” said Mrs. Hoopes.

On her first GLHS substitute appearance, news spread quickly that Mrs. Hoopes was in the building. Mia and Jaycee and Chiara and Eric and Elliot were eager to stop in to catch up and welcome her back. Both she and the students have been equally impacted by one another.

In Mrs. Hoopes’s journey of rediscovery, she found that while retirement brought its share of challenges and adjustments, it also opened doors to unexpected adventures, cherished family moments, and the joy of human interactions.

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