Mrs. Colburn retires after 25 years


TigerPaw Yearbook

Mrs. Colburn in the library.

Thirteen years ago, OHS’s library underwent major renovations; the walls, originally gold, were repainted, and all new furniture was put in. That was also the year Mrs. Bonnie Colburn began working as a secretary in the library, making another positive addition, but in a more substantial way.

Now, after 25 years working at OHS, Colburn is planning on retiring at the end of this semester.

“I thought to myself, you know, I could stay three more years, earn more money, but… God does not promise us tomorrow,” Colburn said. “I love my job. The only reason I’m retiring is because I’m ready to travel…and I want to visit with my grandchildren.”

Colburn plans to live life to the fullest after her retirement. Long-time Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, she and her husband want to see every state on the back of a bike.

Passionate optimism radiates from Colburn naturally, though part of her carpe diem attitude comes from fighting through hard times. Just a few years ago, Colburn suffered a stroke in the OHS library.

“Mrs. Donna Unterreiner (head librarian at the time) noticed that I was slurring my speech…by the time they took me to the nurse, I was having a stroke,” said Colburn, “I lost my ability to speak.” The doctors were unsure if she would ever regain her speech and decided to keep her out of work for about nine weeks.

That same week, Colburn also lost her sister. Growing up, they were very close, which only made the loss that much harder. “Only through the grace of God did I come through that time in my life,” Colburn said.

Though she has experienced hardships, Colburn chooses to look on the bright side. “I’ve been blessed with so many friends and so much laughter, and not too much sadness,” she said. This view helped Colburn look positively on her experience at OHS and recount some of her favorite memories.

“My favorite memory,” she laughed, “was, we were doing some sort of a race (at a pep assembly), and I was pushing a fellow secretary (Lynn Britt) across the gym.” According to Colburn, she got tired halfway across and decided to fling her colleague the rest of the way. The chair was spinning out of control and crashed, secretary and all, into a wall. “But, yeah, I’ll never forget that moment because I thought she was, you know, gonna be gone.”

Colburn has made many memories at OHS in her 25 years of service. She has seen thousands of kids come and go; some becoming lawyers, neurosurgeons, and even pro hockey players. From her position in the library, Colburn has made many long-lasting connections with students, and has learned a lot about high school kids along the way.

Colburn does know from years of working with kids that high school can be tough. She values more than anything the opportunity she has to reach out and make a difference in someone’s day.

“When you work in public education,” Colburn says, “you are told you really shouldn’t hug the kids… but, I think sometimes if you put a hand on someone’s back or give them a hug…if you treat students with respect, they’ll treat you with respect.”

“I love all the kids, I truly do,” Colburn said. “That is what I’m going to miss more than anything.”