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Cummins and Radican retire from Lincoln High School

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Teachers and students, as well as the Lincoln High School atmosphere, are two aspects of the school Ed Cummins and Sheila Radican will miss. That?s because Cummins, 61, and Radican, 71, retired as school teachers with this past school year being their last. The News Messenger asked Lincoln High School Principal Jay Berns about the teachers. ?Sheila was a mother/grandmother to the students she served. She encouraged her students not to give up and always do their best,? Berns said. ?Ed was known for how much he cared for his students and for the staff, while always keeping everyone waiting and watching to see what he would do next.? Also retiring from the high school this year were math teacher Gary Roberts and Regional Occupational Program teacher Jan Caldwell. Roberts and Caldwell could not be reached by The News Messenger by press time. Cummins, retiring as a drama teacher, started at Lincoln High School in 1979. That means he has taught at the school for 34 years. ?I taught English for 27 years and, after about the first five years had at least one drama class,? Cummins said. ?At the end, I had all drama classes. For me, it wasn?t a switch? it was that drama kept growing.? Cummins also started directing plays after school and estimates that he taught ?at least 17,000 students? at Lincoln High School. ?I loved the literature and helping students express themselves,? Cummins said about teaching English. ?I told them often I didn?t have a right to tell them what to think but had a responsibility to teach them how to think.? In drama class, Cummins said, the focus was ?all about the craft of acting and a bit of the history and a bit about the theater itself.? ?I taught them to have some idea of how to control the instrument that is their own body, to control their sphere and breathing,? Cummins said. ?As an actor, you have to have 95 percent of your mental faculty focused on the character and you need five percent of you there.? Cummins has used drama as a way to teach his students skills for life and ?what they?ll get out of drama.? ?We?re in Lincoln and most of are not going to have our own TV show. We?ll be lucky to see a Broadway show, let alone be in one,? Cummins said. ?You can talk to a judge or, when your child gets in trouble, you can talk to the principal and can handle yourself. You might have to talk at school board or in a public forum and have the skills and wherewithal (to do so).? In addition to teaching drama and directing extracurricular plays, Cummins has also coached football and girls? basketball. ?What I think I?m going to miss is that look on my students faces when they get it and know what you are talking about,? Cummins said. ?I will miss putting on the plays.? Cummins told his students, before retiring, ?I pray they could find a job I loved as much as mine.? ?I never went to work; I just went to school,? Cummins said. ?The kids are wonderful and the parents, once you get them on your side, you?re on the way to success. When they understand that we (teachers) are on the same page and want the best for their child.? A special education teacher, Radican has taught at Lincoln High School for five years, after going back to school to get her special education teaching credential at the age of 59. ?My husband suggested that I should go back to school and get my teaching credential because there was going to be a teacher shortage,? Radican said. After being unable to find a job as a general education teacher, Radican said she decided to get her special education credential. ?I had worked as an aide in special ed for years before that. You don?t need a credential to be an aide but they do need some special training,? Radican said. ?I was an aide for 15 years. I always use the word assistant (instead of aide), and the assistants follow direction and do what the teachers asks them to do, such as give extra help to students who need it and grade papers.? Describing Lincoln High School as ?a great school to begin with,? Radican said she has enjoyed ?the people who worked there,? calling them ?very friendly.? ?Maybe it?s the atmosphere of the town itself. It?s a small town and many of the families have been there for a long time and everybody seems willing to help each other,? said Radican, who lives in Roseville. ?I?ll miss my kids and the friendships I?ve made. There are lots of good people there that I will miss on a day-to-day basis.? Radican said she likes to have fun with her students. ?My students ask me all of the time how old I am, and up until the last day, I told them I was 108,? Radican said. Teaching special ed, Radican said, ?really keeps you on your toes.? ?You have to figure out what each kids needs and how to make sure that they learn what they need to learn and how to teach them what they need to learn,? Radican said. ?It really keeps you thinking on how you?re going to deal with each child?s individual needs.? Radican is not ?technically retired? yet, since she is teaching summer school at Foskett Ranch Elementary School until late July. ?I?ve taught summer school for the little people and I just enjoy it,? Radican said. ?I just enjoy it. It?s the difference between the high school and the small children.? Both Cummins and Radican have plans for post-retirement that will keep them busy. ?I?m going to sleep late for awhile,? Radican said. ?I?m a ceramist and have been for many years. I pour plaster molds, then fire and decorate them. I have a little room here at my house and am hoping to start a small business.? Cummins enjoys kayaking, bicycle riding and likes to fence, and belongs to a ?historical fencing guild up in Auburn.? He also is training his horse and a friend?s horse. ?So far, it just feels like summer,? Cummins said, of retirement.