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Returning to The Halls of AAHS

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Old Air Academy High school yearbooks

Old Air Academy High school yearbooks

Old Air Academy High school yearbooks

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The AAHS class of 2017 will officially graduate on May 18, 2017. For most seniors, as the school year comes to an end, it will be their last time walking through the halls of AAHS. However, a few seniors may someday return, embarking on a career as a teacher at Air Academy. For eight Air Academy teachers, this is their case. Eight AAHS alumni are currently working here, teaching a variety of different subjects.

Ms. Koldenhoven’s senior picture from AAHS 1988 yearbook

Ms. Koldenhoven, a part of the administration as an Assistant Principal, graduated with the Air Academy class of 1988. She attended college at UCCS and has been working at AAHS for 1 year. Ms. Koldenhoven’s advice to seniors is to “Really savor this moment and absorb in it because this is one of the few times when you are celebrated. We can all look back to our High School graduation. There is such pride and celebration to remember.” Senior year is one of the most memorable and significant moments in life, so indulge yourself in it and all that it offers.

Mr. Buhler’s senior picture from the 1988 AAHS yearbook.

Air Academy Alumni Mr. Buhler, an engineering teacher, has worked at AAHS for sixteen years. In addition, he currently leads the Rocky Mountain Robotics team who qualified and competed at this years nationals. Graduating in the class of 1988, Mr. Buhler went on to attend the University of Colorado Boulder where he acquired a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Several years later, he received his Master’s from George Washington University and began his engineering career. After years of working in the Engineering industry, he decided to become a High School teacher because he wanted to teach at a place that prepares students for college. In 2001, he became one of Air Academy’s Engineering teachers and he said, “The best way for me to contribute to society would be to educate the leaders of tomorrow.” Regardless of what seniors choose to pursue in life they should strive to make a difference. According to Mr. Buhler, the greatest change about AAHS is the culture. “When I went to Air Academy people felt being a Kadet was unique and special. People took a lot of pride in that. I don’t see that as much anymore. I think people are proud to be a part of certain organizations at the school but as far as being a Kadet, I think folks have forgotten the culture of what it means.” Nowadays District 20 consists of seven High Schools and continues to grow.

Mr. Hillstrom’s senior picture from AAHS 1978 yearbook

A member of the Air Academy’s graduating class of 1978, social studies teacher Mr. Hillstrom has been working at Air Academy for 22 years. He obtained his Bachelors of Science in Social Sciences from Colorado State University Pueblo and then received his MAT at Grand Canyon University. Now a Psychology and Civics teacher, he reflects on his High School memories at Air Academy and the most significant change, “The size is so much bigger, the counseling office used to be the cafeteria.”

Certainly, the size of our school and the technology has changed education. Air Academy, being one of the oldest schools in District 20, definitely has remarkable history. Mr. Hillstrom says to the senior class, “I would give them advice to try to find out what they enjoy doing rather than just chase the dollars. If you can find out what you like to do and get someone to pay you to do it then you can be pretty happy that way.”

Ms. Wintterle’s senior picture from the 2008 AAHS yearbook.

Ms. Wintterle, a Spanish teacher here at Air Academy, graduated with the class of 2008. Her biggest influence to come back to AAHS was that “As a student, I loved the environment. I liked being on the base. I loved how Air Academy really fosters creativity and teachers have a lot of freedom doing neat programs and I wanted to be a part of that. I loved all the teachers I had in high school so the opportunity to come and work with them was really exciting.” Ms. Wintterle will sadly be leaving her teaching position at Air Academy but hopes to stay involved with the school sports teams. Her advice to seniors is, “To not be limited by the expectations of their parents or by what they already know what they are good at but, to just go out and know that they can do anything they want to.”

Air Academy English teacher and Alumni Ms. Scott has been working at AAHS for 15 years. Graduating with the class of 1994, one of Ms. Scott’s most fond memory from high school was being an essential part to the school yearbook. “I was on yearbook all four years, I was the editor of the yearbook my senior year. It was probably my first little taste of what it is like to be a teacher because being the editor included evaluating pages and giving out grades.”

Ms. Scott’s senior picture from AAHS 1994 yearbook

Ms. Scott then went on to attend Colorado State University Fort Collins in addition toa semester at UCCS. Growing up, both of her parents were teachers which allowed her a first-hand perspective of the hard work and dedication that was involved in being an educator. However, the biggest influence to become a teacher was her positive mentality towards the opportunity, “I decided to do something where I would feel like I was making a difference or having an impact on the world and that’s what started leading me towards education despite what I knew about the negative parts, it was the positive side of it that won me over.”

Ms. Austgen’s senior picture from the AAHS 1991 yearbook.

Ms. Lee’s senior picture from the 2006 AAHS yearbook.

The eight Air Academy alumni who now are teachers at the school include; Ms. Austgen, Mr. Buhler, Mr. Hillstrom, Ms. Koldenhoven, Ms. Lee, Ms. Morgan, Ms. Scott, and Ms. Wintterle. As the Seniors’ high school career comes to an end, a new chapter of their life will be opened, and who knows, one day they might return to Air Academy filling new shoes.

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “Returning to The Halls of AAHS”

  1. Anna Cloonan on May 16th, 2017 11:57 am

    I love seeing all these teachers pictures! Great article Kate!

    [Reply]

  2. Reagan Brenenstuhl on May 16th, 2017 12:00 pm

    This was such a fun story to read!

    [Reply]

  3. Jessica Cox on May 16th, 2017 12:00 pm

    These pictures are awesome!

    [Reply]

  4. Megan Reynolds on May 16th, 2017 12:03 pm

    Love the pictures of teachers around the school. Super cool article Kate!

    [Reply]

  5. Whitney Moran on May 16th, 2017 12:09 pm

    This is such a unique article! I am loving these photos Kate!

    [Reply]

  6. Bethany Diaz on May 16th, 2017 12:33 pm

    These senior pictures are so funny. It’s hard to imagine that some of the people we go to school with could become the people that they look up to (and sometimes don’t like very much). If I was going to be a teacher, I’d want to be one here, so I can see why they came back.

    [Reply]

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Returning to The Halls of AAHS