Agriculture teacher plans to retire this year


Clara Severn

Animal and Plant Science teacher Mark Rickabaugh teaches students in the greenhouse. He is retiring this year.

By Izzy Hedges

Mark Rickabaugh, teacher of Animal Science, Plant Science, Vet Sciences, Agricultural Business and Agricultural Education, will be retiring this year.

Having been a staff member for 20 years, Rickabaugh touched many students in his classes and will be missed by many students and staff.

Teacher Charlie Lauts, a longtime friend of Rickabaugh’s, wishes him the best of luck in the next part of his life.

“Mr. Rickabaugh offers a wealth of knowledge in his area of science, behind his knowledge he also has years of real world experiences,” engineering and architecture teacher Charlie Lauts said. “We have to hope the teacher who follows him can offer at least half of what he has been able to do.”

Rickabaugh teaches his students in a “hands on” environment. In his science classes, hands-on experience is a recurring element of his teaching style and curriculum.

Students in Rickabaugh’s Animal Science classes, for example, have had the opportunity to ride horses and milk goats that he coordinated bringing to school. His Plant Science classes spend time in the greenhouse at Lawrence High. A key component to Rickabaugh’s teaching style is allowing students to learn through experience, a large reason why he will be missed dearly by his students.

“He has definitely inspired me because I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was younger, but now it’s really real and I see it in my future because of the animal classes I’ve taken with him,” sophomore Rylee Harris said.    

In 1997, Rickabaugh began teaching at the high school of Scott City, Kan., for two years. He then taught for two years at his home town of Garnett, Kan. Later, he began teaching at LHS, adding up to a total of 33 years.

A highlight of his career was when several students involved with Future Farmers Association at Garnett High School won several contests. During his second year teaching in Scott City, a student entered the Grand Champion Market pig, that they raised at the school owned farm, at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

Clara Severn
Teacher Mark Rickabaugh tends to plants in the greenhouse. He has taught for 33 years.

“I started teaching wanting only to teach the best and the brightest,” Rickabaugh said. “When I came to Lawrence that got flipped upside down. I struggled for a few years, [I still do], but I have come to appreciate teaching those with challenges almost as much as those that are gifted.”

For Rickabaugh, coming from two successful high schools of FFA, Lawrence High was an adjustment, especially because of the greater amount of students at Lawrence High as well as the size of Lawrence in general.

Rickabaugh has experienced some his favorite years of teaching at Lawrence High School, as well as favorite students. He will be greatly missed by students and staff of the LHS community.

“Probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned at LHS is an understanding of people from backgrounds very different than mine,” Rickabaugh said. “Every person that walks the halls of LHS has a story.  I’ve gotten to know a few of them and I feel I am better because of this.”