ARNOLD—After 39 years of teaching and coaching at Arnold Public Schools, Rick Peterson has decided to pass the baton and head into retirement. He began teaching in Arnold in 1982. Mr. Peterson earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Midland University with endorsements in 7-12 Social Science and K-12 Physical Education. He also earned his Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of Nebraska Kearney in 1992.
According to an article in the Arnold Sentinel by Janet Larreau, Mr. Peterson started teaching in Arnold when he was just 22 years old and his wife Barb was 20 at the time. He has now worked with two generations of students on and off the track.
With a teaching philosophy of “attitude is everything” Mr. Peterson told the Sentinel he has loved talking to kids about their lives and their goals and watching them develop academically, athletically, and socially. Throughout the years he has seen multiple changes in the number of teaching resources available as well as the expansion of the track program.
“It was unbelievable how it occurred,” Peterson told KCNI/KBBN regarding the Arnold track. The Arnold school board and community members came together many years ago to build the track facility into what it is today.
KCNI/KBBN spoke to Rick Peterson during the 2021 MNAC Track and Field Championships as Mr. Peterson coached his last South Loup (Arnold and Callaway) team in Arnold.
“It went by in the blink of an eye. It just seems like last year we were here with a one or two person show at the time and now we have some really good help. Things are just going well,” Rick Peterson told KCNI/KBBN adding how much he appreciates the great team of track coaches, many of whom he taught when they were students.
When asked about one of his favorite memories out on the track, Mr. Peterson described the year in which the talented girls team lost the state championship by just two points after one athlete dropped the baton in the 400 relay. The memory sticks out to Peterson because of the way the student athletes overcame sadness and disappointment to go on to set a new state record in the 4 x 400 relay.
Mr. Peterson said the foundation of his teaching and coaching career were the relationships he formed with others.
“It’s [the relationships] the key thing. There’s just so many of them,” he told KCNI/KBBN. He has even coached the grandkids of some of his early students.
“Yeah grandkids…you know it’s just been such a long time. If you really want to get a kid to work tell him ‘you run a lot like your grandpa’ and that inspires them! Because nobody wants to be that way because grandpa is old, right?” Mr. Peterson laughed.