TORRINGTON – Even in retirement, Dewey Clapp hopes to continue his commitment to education.
Clapp, longtime Southeast science teacher and later instructional facilitator, retired in mid-June. An Eastern Wyoming College scholarship fund is being set up in his name.
Clapp, 65, is a Huntley High School alum. He attended EWC then the University of Wyoming as a pre-med major, but later used his knowledge to teach science and coach in Goshen County.
Clapp considered himself lucky for the opportunity, teaching at Southeast beginning in 1970.
“Great people, great parental support,” he said of Southeast. “I tell most people this: Everybody has a bad day once in a while, but most days I have to say I enjoyed going to work.”
Clapp taught all four of his children.
“They had, as they tell me, pretty good experiences, if a little weird at times,” Clapp recalled.
He always strove to make learning enjoyable. Clapp recalled one hot-air balloon experiment that didn’t quite go as planned. Since it was winter and the weather conditions were less than ideal, the class attempted to fly their tissue-paper balloons in the gym using heat sources on the ground.
“It got a little tilted and the tissue paper started on fire,” Clapp said. “(The ceiling insulation) evidently had a fire retardant on it, luckily. That was one that got the kids laughing.”
“I try to make education enjoyable, memorable, something you can apply to life,” he added.
In addition to teaching, Clapp coached football, basketball, girls’ softball and American Legion baseball.
As an instructional facilitator, Clapp worked with teachers in the district on professional development. A bit of advice he likes to give is to always work for the love of the students.
“Don’t think of it as a job; think of it as a calling,” he said. “You have to do it for the love of the kids; love them like your own.”
As for his future plans, Clapp plans to continue working on building furniture in his shop and possibly traveling to Costa Rica to share his building expertise and help construct houses for the poor.
He admits time without school for the most part, though, will certainly be different.
“I never stopped coming to school,” Clapp said. “I’ve been going for 59 falls in a row.”
Clapp’s oldest daughter, J.C., is helping set up his EWC scholarship, The Dewey Clapp Endowment for the Sciences. There will be a chili feed, dance and silent auction as part of a retirement benefit event on Saturday, July 21 at the Goshen County Fairgrounds Rendezvous Center. Tickets to the chili feed are $5 per person and runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. followed by a dance from 8 p.m. to midnight, featuring music by The Drivin’ Dynamics. Tickets for the dance/concert are $10 per person. Combination tickets for both events are $13; children under 6 are admitted for free.
Tickets are available at the JCPenny counter at Kelly’s Super Market, located at 1042 Main St. Direct donations to Clapp’s scholarship should be sent to EWC, 3200 West C St., Torrington, Wyo. 82240, and be marked as designated for the Clapp endowment.
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