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This Is Home: Williamstown High School teacher entering his 48th year of teaching

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 6:06 PM EDT
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WILLIAMSTOWN, W.Va (WTAP) - Ron Lathey first visited Williamstown in the 1960s while playing basketball for Sistersville High School (now Tyler Consolidated). He knew from the first time he saw it, he wanted to live there.

“My first trip to Williamstown would have been in 1966 when I was playing basketball for Sistersville High School and I had never been to Williamstown, but when I came down here to the red light and turned into by the park, at that time the outdoor basketball court was right off to the left here, and in 1966 I looked down there and saw that they had glass backboards on the outdoor court and we didn’t have glass backboards in our gymnasium. So I thought to myself, this place must really love basketball and again a basketball coach is what I really wanted to be, so from that point on I decided that’s where I would check first, and I did,” Lathey said.

And for the last 47 years, he’s been right there in Williamstown, teaching math to teenagers.

“I think I knew from about fifth grade on that I wanted to be a math teacher,” said Lathey.

He accomplished his goal of becoming a basketball coach too. He spent nearly thirty years coaching Yellowjacket basketball players. He even took home a “Coach of the Year” award in the late 1980s.

“I had almost 30 years of great fun and great people,” said Lathey “I couldn’t ask for any place better to be and I look back on some great memories.”

Though he doesn’t coach anymore, Lathey is still making memories in the classroom he has used for most of the last four and half decades. He is welcoming students into his math classes for the 48th year at Williamstown High School this fall.

His long career has garnered him a reputation among students. He says they know what to expect when they come into his classroom; a safe learning environment where they can have some structured fun.

“I’m getting grandkids of kids that I had when I first came here, so it’s nice to be able to tell them I didn’t let your daddy do that, I didn’t even let your granddaddy do that, so you’re certainly not going to do that,” said Lathey.

While the building around him has certainly changed over the years, Lathey says students haven’t changed much.

“Kids still want the same things this year that they wanted when I came here in 1973,” said Lathey. “They want to know that they’re safe, they want to know that they’re loved, they want to know they’re accepted and they want to have self worth. Those things don’t change from kids. As long as you keep that in mind as a teacher and you try to give them what you can in that, I think you still have impacts on kids.”

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