By Jennifer Hetrick
As a man who only believes in making the best of each day, Tom Blocher, of Gilbertsville, took his first teaching job at Boyertown Area Senior High School in 1968 and dedicated almost 38 years of his life to bringing positive attention to learning.
Originally from Altoona, Blocher studied at Shippensburg University after one of his high school teachers encouraged him and helped him fill out applications and paperwork. Before that sudden unexpected influence, he hadn’t planned to attend a four-year school.
Blocher served as a business teacher at the high school until 1985. After that, he served as Assistant Principal of Boyertown Junior High West until 1990. For the next 10 years, he held the position of Principal.
From 2000 to 2005, he took on the role of assistant superintendent in the district, later serving as acting superintendent for about nine months before retiring.
The inspiring words, of the teacher who told Blocher to go onto a four-year college, show the power of the different possibilities in choices a person can make in life, with a heartfelt persuasion, for the better, from someone who cares.
“I really enjoy working with students, and I chaperoned trips to football games and cavalcades. That stands out because you’re working with kids in a setting outside of the classroom,” he said. “When a teacher does that, it helps both you and the students in the classroom because they know you have an interest in them, and then they respect you more.”
Blocher said he always gave advice to new teachers that they should get involved, going to students’ practices, plays, and events like The Cavalcade.
“Seeing students grow and helping them to be successful, finding their path & interests in life” is what he said he liked most about working with young people during his nearly four decades in the district.
Now, Blocher enjoys his retirement by keeping plenty social, reading, golfing, and traveling. He’s been to the Grand Canyon, France, and, this winter, spent time in Puerto Rico.
He’s also known for being a kind fellow who doesn’t mind driving relatives, friends, and neighbors to doctor’s appointments.