Three RB staff members end their RB careers despite coronavirus pandemic

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Photos courtesy of Lindsay Mynaugh, Bella Brick, and RB Clarion.

Claire Harrison, Editor

With over 65 years of combined experience, three RB staff members are retiring after memorable careers at RB. Dawn Soprych, David Sibley, and Steve Yurek have each made their mark on RB in remarkable ways.

Dawn Soprych has been working at RB for 27 years, making herself known as “The Smiley Face Lady”. During her time at RB, Soprych taught in the special education department and additionally coached volleyball and badminton, sponsored a drug prevention program, and sponsored Best Buddies, one of RB’s largest clubs. Soprych will always be remembered for her positive attitude and office with an incredible number of smiley faces.

“I am also looking forward to practicing Latin dancing, yoga, meditation, and learning Spanish. I will remain positive and hopefully, my plans will not change. Making the decision to retire was not an easy one. I still love my job like the day I started,” Soprych said.

David Sibley has been a part of the RB family for 20 years, starting out as a counselor and part-time dean and eventually being promoted to full-time dean. Sibley is known around the halls as someone who always has students’ backs and always acts in students’ best interests. In retirement, Sibley hopes to find a job as a paraprofessional closer to his home to reduce commute time.

“I have been at RB for 20 years, so there are a ton of great memories and stories about students and staff.  The students at RB throughout the years have always been fun, even when there were issues. Our staff at RB has been fun also, lots of teachers have a great sense of humor and are always enjoyable to be around,” Sibley said.

Finally, beloved math teacher and coach Steve Yurek is leaving RB after 18 years. In addition to coaching, Yurek is the voice of RB football and volleyball. Yurek plans to be a tour guide at Wrigley Field, but those plans have been temporarily halted due to the MLB season being put on hold. Yurek’s daughter, Audrey, recently gave birth to his first granddaughter, so he plans to be “The Best Grandpa Ever”.

 “I have been surrounded by great people for a long time, and you sometimes forget to tell them how much you appreciate often enough. Hopefully, they will read this and know what they mean to me. I am a little grateful that I don’t have to say goodbye publicly because it will be emotional! Even saying goodbye to a class would be difficult,” Yurek said.

Retirement is often looked forward to, but it is doubtful that any retiring teachers would guess that their last year would end like this. 

“I made the decision to retire a few years ago, but I never thought in a million years that we would finish the school year in the middle of a pandemic,” Sibley said.

E-learning and missing cherished end-of-the-year events are only some of the many challenges this last quarter before retirement has presented to the nearly retired teachers. Considering all of the current implications of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a chance that students will not return to in-person classes in the fall.

I don’t regret retiring at this time because I don’t think that I would be a very good e-teacher if it comes to that more often in the future,” Yurek said.

Among the most bittersweet parts of leaving a loving community like RB are the goodbyes. All of these retiring teachers have made a profound impact on students’ lives for decades, meaning they will be missed dearly. 

I am sad that I will not be able to say goodbye to the seniors.  I look forward to seeing all my students that were in my classes and involved in Best Buddies next school year. Interactions with so many wonderful students and staff members are by far my favorite memories at RB,” Soprych said.

Although these staff members may be leaving, they are not gone forever.

I will always support RB if I am needed in the future. RB’s future is in good hands with the administration, teachers, and staff. They are all good people who work extremely hard for our school… I will miss not saying goodbye to the staff at RB, but we will see each other in the future.  I am retiring, I am not dead yet,” Sibley said.