By Megan Castle
Loved psychology teacher and former speech and debate coach Joyce Hannula has decided to retire.
Although bittersweet, she says, “ I just felt like it was time to maybe let some newer teachers come in and [for me to] let go.”
“I was called to be a teacher,” Joyce Hannula tells Hawk Tawk.
A psych teacher at Bozeman High, Hannula has been teaching for many years; so many years, in fact, that quite a few current BHS teachers were students in Hannula’s classes in college or high school.
“My favorite student of all time was [Katy] Paynich. I was her oratory coach on the speech team and she was such a good listener and so supportive.”
She continues, “[Katy] was so much fun to work with. If I had to pick a favorite student it would be her.”
Paynich, now a teacher herself at BHS, explains the impact Hannula had on her life.
“I always had the sense that I wanted to be a teacher. I knew how much she changed my life and I wanted to be able to do the same thing for other people,” says Paynich. “Joyce gave me a lot of confidence, she taught me [how] to speak…how to write well, all of her training really enabled me to pursue the goals that I had for myself to become a teacher, to become involved professionally, to give speeches for various organizations.”
She continues, “the person I am today and the accomplishments I’ve made is largely due to Joyce.”
Paynich says Hannula’s retirement will be a big change not only for herself but for the school as a whole.
“I’m going to miss her, just having her here, seeing her in the halls. It’s going to be such a big hole in my life and the lives of students and other colleagues. Every time I go past her door I’ll miss her,” says Paynich.
Hannula agrees that the her retirement will be a turning point, “leaving is really hard for me, I can’t imagine loving a job as much as I’ve loved teaching.”
She continues, “I will really miss not only being able to hopefully inspire [students] in some way but I’ll miss their inspiration for the way I live my life.”
Retirement won’t be marking the end of Hannula’s impact, however: she plans on continuing to work with international students at the high school and eventually publish a book about her parents’ life in Ukraine.
“I consider her a mother, a mentor, a friend and a I’m just humbled by her presence in my life,” says Paynich. “She gave me a sense of stability and encouragement, she believed in me. That’s what impacted me.”