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North High guidance counselor to be honored for 50 years in education

November 14, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Students' clothes have changed, and even their attitudes.

His own job description is radically different, but one thing that has not changed in Robert Lochbaum's 50 years in public education is his dedication to students.

Lochbaum, who lives in Hagerstown, has worked for more than 40 years as a guidance counselor at North Hagerstown High School. He took his first job after college as a business teacher at South Hagerstown High School. That was in 1958, and Lochbaum said he has decided to retire at the end of this school year.

He will be honored during a ceremony tonight for Washington County Public Schools employees who have worked for the school system for five years or more. Those milestones are celebrated in intervals of five years.

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Lochbaum has worked with the school system longer than any of the night's other honorees.

He fell in love with teaching in college, and after graduating form Shippensburg (Pa.) University took a job teaching business classes at South Hagerstown High School. He stayed there for almost eight years before working for two years as a guidance counselor at North Potomac Middle School, which no longer exists.

Lochbaum says he is unsure why he made the switch from teaching high school students to counseling middle school students.

"I love people and students," he said. "And it was still working with people. It just seemed appropriate at the time."

Looking back, Lochbaum said he did not enjoy working with middle school students. It's an age group he didn't relate to, and he enjoyed working with high school students who had their minds on college and the future.

In 1967, he began working as a guidance counselor at North Hagerstown High School. When he made the transition, he moved with the group of eighth-graders he had worked with at North Potomac Middle. He stayed with that class until they graduated in 1971.

"I do still keep in touch with some of those students today," Lochbaum said. "You get to know the kids really well."

He could have retired two decades ago, but Lochbaum said he wanted to stay in the job that he loved.

"If you find a job that you like, you never really have to work another day in your life," Lochbaum said.

He'll retire at the end of this school year, and said he plans to spend time traveling with his wife, Ann.

"I liked what I was doing," he said. "But I think it's time for me to do something else."

Photo by Yvette May/Staff Photographer

Robert Lochbaum, a guidance counselor at North Hagerstown High School, plans to retire at the end of this school year after 50 years in public education.

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