As the school year comes to a close, Bayshore High School is preparing for the departure of music teacher Richard Jorgensen, a favorite among students and staff.
Jorgensen taught 12 years at Bayshore and is set to retire, not just from Bayshore, but from teaching altogether.
Before becoming BHS orchestra and guitar teacher, Jorgensen worked in many different fields, not all of which involved music. He taught science, managed a record store, was vice president of a videotape company and a thermal engineer.
A Northwestern University graduate, Jorgensen's life's journey took him from the Midwest to Southern California and now Southwest Florida.
His students hold him in the highest regard.
"He is a brilliant man," said Daymen Pasick, a four-year orchestra student. "He has so much to say about any subject. Oftentimes, when I needed help outside of the music class, he would help me with my assignments or give me information on research papers I needed to write."
As his professional background and academic credentials indicate, Jorgensen is well-rounded. Students looked to him as a mentor who dispensed sage advice.
"Mr. Jorgensen not only is an amazing teacher, he is an understanding and down-to-earth man," Daymen said. "When students came to him with their personal problems, myself included, he would listen to them intently and answer them with wisdom and truth rather than tell us what we want to hear."
After his retirement, "Mr. J"
plans to enjoy his newfound free time to the fullest.
"I want to learn and experience new things," Jorgensen said.
He plans to take classes at State College of Florida, including Spanish and cooking courses. He also plans to travel and spend time underwater enjoying a favorite pastime: diving.
His five-year involvement with the Delayed Retirement Opportunity Program has come to an end, which resulted in his pending retirement. He said it is the ideal time to leave the classroom, coinciding with his oldest son's graduation.
Mr. J said his students are what he will miss most about teaching.
"One of the most depressing things about becoming a senior citizen is having to hang out with old people," Jorgensen said. "What I've enjoyed most about my job has been the kids."