The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Fetcho and Weinschenk to retire in June


  Nearly every year, San Luis Obispo High School says goodbye to one or more teachers who step down after decades of work and service to retire.

This year, SLOHS is losing two great teachers who have been with the school for decades: Computer Science teacher Jan Fetcho and Latin teacher Thomas Weinschenk.

Expressions interviewed both teachers to hear about their experiences at SLOHS and their thoughts heading into retirement. 

Expressions: How long have you been teaching in general? How long at SLOHS?

Computer Science Teacher Jan Fetcho: About forty years. 26 at SLOHS.

Latin Teacher Thomas Weinschenk: I’ve been teaching for 36 years, 29 at SLOHS.

Expressions: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen at SLOHS over your time here?

Fetcho: I think the biggest change was getting the school wired for computer networking and getting the internet. Our current students have grown up with digital access to everything, but in 1994 when I started here the computers I taught on were all stand alone. We had two labs (or maybe three) of Apple II’s and one lab of PC’s running DOS. In about 2000 rooms 505, 506, and 507 were wired for networking. Not the internet, just networking. The only students who got accounts were my students! 

We got the whole school wired when the state gave out funds to get the high schools all over the state wired and connected. Shortly thereafter we got the internet in the classrooms. Except only my room and the library had computers that could readily access it. Each teacher had one computer, but that’s all. There weren’t even printers in each room. Slowly we got more computers and computer labs on campus, and then a couple of years ago those gave way to carts of Chromebooks. My room still has actual computers, though. 

The other big change is science teacher Ryan Ritchie moving from a student to a teacher. Who would have thought!

Weinschenk: The biggest change at our school would be the shift to a more academically-oriented curriculum.  The number of AP classes has increased dramatically.

Expressions: What’s your favorite memory at SLOHS?

Fetcho: Students winning competitions. And losing them too. Lots of good memories of students doing student things outside of schoolwork. I have coached Academic Decathlon and Robotics over the years and advised Tech Club and Engineering Club. Some of my most lasting memories come from these activities. Like the bottle label incident. 

I peel labels off of bottles. I know, it’s a weird habit. I just can’t seem to help myself. The Aratas were sitting next to me in the faculty meeting yesterday watching me peel the label off my water bottle. So, the incident… I was getting ready to have an after school meeting with Academic Decathlon, so this has to be about 20 years ago. The students knew I would peel the label off any bottle they set in front of me. So we were getting settled at the tables in room 307 (pause to mourn room 307). I sat down and there was this empty bottle on the table. Everyone is gathering, rather quietly I’m thinking, while I pick up the bottle and scrape at the label. Nothing. I try again. Nothing. The students had taken the label off intact and slipped it carefully INSIDE the bottle. It was the best practical joke any student group ever put over on me. 

Weinschenk: I have many cherished memories, but I suppose my favorite would be of the many trips the Latin Club took to the California Junior Classical League Convention. Our club has been State Champions at the California Junior Classical League Convention three times, we placed second six times and we took third place twice.  Our students love going to the Convention, preparing for all the competitions, especially in academic and artistic areas related to Latin.  It’s marvelous to remember how excited our students have been to learn about the Classical World and Latin.  The Convention inspires them to learn way beyond what is taught in the classroom and also to produce wonderful art and performances.

Expressions: What will you miss the least from SLOHS?

Fetcho: Grading. Period. End of comment. 

Weinschenk: My least favorite memory is of the trimester system and how it has divided our staff.

Expressions: What will you miss the most?

Fetcho: Students and teaching a subject I love. The “ah-ha” moment on a student’s face when you see understanding dawning. Being told I am wrong. And proving I am not. 

Weinschenk: I will miss the interaction I get to have with the wonderfully aesthetic Latin language and with the many enthusiastic students at SLOHS who actually want to learn Latin.

Expressions: What are you most looking forward to in retirement? 

Fetcho: Gardening and camping everywhere. Bucket list: Camp in every city, county, state and national campground we can get to on the California, Oregon, and Washington coast. My husband’s is to camp at every national park. And of course, I am looking forward to volunteering in my grandson’s classes at Baywood. 

Weinschenk: I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to my family and to the local environment.  I hope to plant more oak trees locally and spend quality time with friends and family.  I hope also to play more handball.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Expressions Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *