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Beloved counselor, mentor to retire after nearly three decades at MHS

posted Feb 24, 2019, 1:43 PM by Andrew Tichy
By: Isaac Leiseth

If you have gone to Moorhead High within the last 29 years, chances are that you’ve heard the name Toni Bach at least once. Toni is a school counselor at MHS and has worked here for 29 years, along with another four years of school counseling experience elsewhere and another seven years of teaching experience. She will be retiring at the end of this year, 2019, and spending some well deserved time to herself. In honor of her retirement I interviewed Toni to hear about what teaching at MHS has been like for her, and what she has learned from it. One of the first things I asked her was what inspired her to be a school counselor, and she stated that it was “something that I didn’t really have when I was a student,” and that she also did it because of a desire to do more than just teach. I asked her about favorite memories and what she’ll miss when she leaves Moorhead. She said that a lot of her favorite memories involve her therapy dog, Rosco, who she had with her for ten years, and that a lot of her funny memories involved technology not working. She told about a point when all the teachers had a master key, and there was essentially a laser tripwire that you had to step over to deactivate the alarm system, or it would set off the alarm and call the police. Long story short, a number of times someone would step in just the wrong spot or wear a long jacket and set it off by accident. I asked her what she thought the greatest value of education is, and her response was very simple; “Education, and knowledge, is power. [it’s] power to adapt to change.”

As our interview continued, Toni continued to show her wisdom and love for MHS and its students and teachers, which inspired me to ask a series of final questions, all of which involved advice. First I asked her what she thought was most important for MHS moving forward, to which she replied “I see a need to be more understanding of other cultures,” along with security and decreasing the student-teacher and student-counselor ratios. According to the American Counselor Association, schools should aim for a ratio of 250 students for every counselor, while MHS sits at around 400:1. It is worth noting that this is better than the national average, which is 491:1. In addition, Toni stated that it’s hard to learn when you have “30 kids in one class.” The second piece of advice that I asked for was for current middle schoolers who will be moving to MHS next year, or years after that. Toni stated that coming to the high school is a big step up, and it requires a positive attitude. In addition, she stated “With great power comes great responsibility, but you’ll also have great opportunities.” This seems to be the common advice for future freshmen, which I once heard summed up by a fellow student as “My best advice for being a successful freshman at the high school is don’t be a freshman.” I then asked for advice for current students like myself, to which she stated, find what makes you “feel alive” and pursue it. Finally, I asked her if she had any advice for teachers. Her response was to keep a positive attitude and to focus on relationships. She stated that everyone has different strengths, and you can’t know these strengths without forming a relationship with the students.

Toni Bach has been a staple of the MHS education system for so long, and she’ll be sorely missed when she is gone. We at MHS wish Toni the best of luck moving forward.