Sheri Samson
Mineral County High math teacher Catherine Kaler (center) with students who congratulated her after she received an award at the last assembly.

If you ask most high school students about math, many will wrinkle their foreheads and maybe stick out their tongues. And yet one math teacher, Catherine Kaler, seemed to give clarity to junior high and high school students over a teaching career which totaled 35 years; 28 of those years were dedicated to Mineral County High School.

Tears entered her eyes as she related to the many years she taught, while reflecting upon the faces of students which she impacted. She bragged about former students becoming engineers, medical staff and teachers. She reminisced about seeing her students from the past now raising their own families. Laughing, Kaler shared that a fellow teacher, Darren Hamrey, was one of her former students and admitted he was a good student. Her first student is now 55 years old, which made her realize how fast time was moving on, so retirement seemed doable now for traveling, golfing, camping and seeing the sites within the U.S.

In teaching 7th through 12th graders, the challenges never stopped and yet the rewards of seeing a student “get it” made her keep going.

“I tried to make math an easy formula with “how-to’s” so it wouldn’t stop a student from trying and succeeding. I never wanted math to hold a student back. I will really miss the students above everything and my peers have made this a great job too,” Kaler expressed.

Her teaching career never veered into any other subject but math. As she packed up her belongings in Room 8, she looked around the walls which she lived in for over seven years, once again tearing up.

“I will still be in town, so I will see everyone after I take some trips to see my family. I know this is a new chapter for me and I will just have to find my way in this new life in front of me.”