Teachers leaving Altoona family

Eighth grade special education teacher, Gilda Kilcoyne says goodbye to the Altoona Area Family. She has been teaching for sixteen years and is ready to retire.
Photo by Joanne Pringle
Seventh grade world geography teacher, John Bollinger also says good bye to the Altoona Area Family. He has been teaching for twenty five years and is ready to retire.
Photo by Joanne Pringle

This is the last year for two teachers in the building.  Gilda Kilcoyne and John Bollinger announced their pending retirements. Kilcoyne teaches eighth grade special education classes, and Bollinger teaches seventh grade world geography.

Kilcoyne  has been teaching a total of 16 and a half years and has spent all of those  years with the Altoona Area School District.

“ I’ll miss the people that I met here, the people that I worked with. That’ll be a big part of it,” Kilcoyne said.

Kilcoyne began her teaching career later in life. She decided to raise her children first and then go to college. Shortly afterwards, she began her teaching career. Along with teaching at the junior high, Kilcoyne also taught at Kimmel Alternative School.

One of her favorite memories was when she was teaching an autistic class at Kimmel. Every Friday they used to go bowling together and they would have a lot of fun. She is going to miss all of the people that she met and the students here at the Altoona Junior High. After retiring, Kilcoyne is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and her grandchildren.

“ Working with the students, I really enjoyed it, meeting all the different teachers and learning from other teachers. I’d have to say that was all my favorite part of it,” Kilcoyne  said.

Bollinger has been teaching a total of 25 years. He spent one out of those 25 years in Penn State State College, looked for another job and then returned to Altoona to work in the Altoona Area School District.

“I’m going to miss the kids, I’m going to miss the faculty and the people that I work with. But getting up every morning and putting on a shirt and tie, and all of that stuff, I probably won’t miss,” Bollinger said.

He is also going to miss his years of coaching basketball. One favorite basketball memory he has is when the seventh graders beat State College.

“ The look on those kids face when they beat State College, because State College was a powerhouse then, and it was funny that they beat them, and they were extremely happy,” Bollinger said.

Those students are now juniors at the high school. Once Bollinger retires, he plans to travel the world with his wife. They plan to visit Europe next summer and the summer following. Bollinger is going to miss his teaching career, along with his coaching, but he’s also going to miss the staff and students that he has met and worked with over the years.