Freeport - After 39 years in the classroom, this week's Golden Apple award winner is retiring. Mr. Lathinghouse taught middle school language arts in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. He spent the last 6 years at Freeport Middle School. They say he'll be hard to replace.
For Walton County students, Thursday was the last day of school before summer break. But for Thomas Lathinghouse, the day held more finality. After 39 years of teaching language arts to 7th and 8th graders, "Mr. L" is retiring. "Teaching has been the best decision I ever made," said Lathinghouse.
His legacy: thousands of students who love reading. "I enjoy reading a lot now. Before I didn't really like it, I thought it was really boring but "Mr. L" has taught us to get into the book, said 8th grader Tessa Hendrix. "He has helped me progress and I've seen a lot of other students progress in their writing skills and in their reading skills," said Nikole Dier, who nominated Mr. Lathinghouse. "He is always keeping us laughing and learning, so it's never boring," said 8th grader Victoria Edwards
For "Mr.L," it's not just about the skills. "I want them to enjoy what they do out of school too, and I want them to be able to read and understand," said Lathinghouse. "Just the passion he has for literature and writing, that is carried through to the children. That's what the most important thing is here, kids not just getting the education but having a passion for education," said Charlie Morse, the Principal of Freeport Middle School
Congratulations to Mr. Lathinghouse, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher.