Chemistry teacher Gale Hunt laughs with her students before they take a quiz during second period on Sept. 25.
Chemistry teacher Gale Hunt laughs with her students before they take a quiz during second period on Sept. 25.

50 years of [Hunt]ing success

Chemistry teacher Gale Hunt celebrates 50th year of teaching

September 16, 2022

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round.”

Chemistry teacher Gale Hunt’s mother sang her this rhyme when she was a child. A tune that stuck heavy in her heart. Decades later, the song carries through her teaching career: she sees herself as the bus driver, driving young minds to achieve excellence. The wheels turn further as Hunt reaches her 50th year of teaching and the next chapter in her life, however, she has some difficult questions to answer regarding what she will achieve next.

“Fifty years is a very special year for me because there’s not many teachers that [teach for that long,]” said Hunt. “[But] there’s an old saying that when one door closes another [door] opens.”

Hunt’s first year at Hebron was one for the books. Hunt said it was a year of transition for Hebron in 2007, and very few students wanted to take AP chemistry. She was put into a side room with no labs, teaching biology, chemistry and IPC. However, one positive that came from Hunt’s first year was the bond she made with fellow chemistry teacher, Kerri Boyd. 

“My best memory here was meeting [Mrs.] Boyd,” Hunt said. “She’s been a very dear friend of mine and has helped me through a lot of different situations. She’s like my daughter, but she’s also like my best friend.”

Upon her arrival, Hunt helped shape the chemistry department. She’s also received various awards, such as the Werner Schulz Award for Outstanding Chemistry Teacher, US Presidential Scholar Teacher of the Year in 2003 and is framed in Tarleton College’s hall of fame.

“The other chemistry teachers and I unified chemistry to a departmental unit,” Hunt said. “We’ve built up the AP program from no students [in 2007] to an average of 60-80 students [in 2022.]”

Since then, Boyd and Hunt have shared various teaching methods. Hunt has a ton of tools in her teaching toolbox, Boyd said; she uses Hunt’s methods and tailors them to her own teaching style. 

“[Teachers and students] can learn from the best practices [of] some of the ‘greats’ who have influenced Mrs. Hunt [and] no longer [teach],” Boyd said. “She [is like a] treasure trove full of [some of] the best practices for teaching chemistry.” 

Hunt has motivated younger teachers as well; she was Jaden Gorham’s “master teacher” when he was student-teaching back in 2017, and now, he has taught chemistry here for four years. She has had an influence on how he approaches the classroom in general and has drastically impacted the way he teaches, said Gorham.

“She always motivated me to try something new, which is something I really took home, and [now,] I try to implement something new every [semester,]” Gorham said. “She is the mother [and] matriarch of science.”

Influencing in her workspace and out, Hunt has made an impact on her students. Science National Honors Society President and Hunt’s past AP chemistry student, Isabella Nations said she has been influenced by Hunt’s leadership.  

“Mrs. Hunt has influenced me to take more roles in leadership,” Nations said. “She’s inspired me with her love and [drive of] science and teaching.”

This year marks a new milestone as Hunt celebrates 50 years of teaching. Around 44% of teachers quit within the first five years of teaching, something Hunt has grown accustomed to. As she continues to motivate others to achieve greatness, one question remains: what’s next? As of now, Hunt is unsure when or if she will retire anytime soon.

“50 years is definitely something to be celebrated, but I really feel like she has deserved time with her husband to do something other than educate young minds all day,” Boyd said. “She’s been a dear friend and I will miss her, but I’m happy for this stage in her career.”

As Hunt approaches this new chapter in her life, one thing stands strong: her love for teaching and her students. Hunt said she’s going to encourage every young teacher to try and reach that 50 years and have as much pleasure as she had. 

“[Even] when I leave, the wheels on the bus are still going to go round and round all over town,” Hunt said. “I’m gonna look at that school bus and see [my] kids wanting to learn, I believe that.”

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