Fifty years ago, Ruth Knapp arrived at Verdugo Hills High School in the San Fernando Valley for the first time. Fifty years later, she's still there.
Ruth volunteers at the same school from where she retired, providing a half-century of service without really taking a break. Despite retiring in 2003, School officials say she still works almost as many hours as full-time teachers. She organizes textbooks and athletic events.
“Every year, Ruth comes to me at the start of the year, and asks if I can approve her volunteer application. I would be remiss not to accept her application, said Edward Trimis, principal of Verdugo Hills. “She is super kind, very friendly, and just a wonderful person.”
“Whenever we have track meets, Ruth is typically the “Clerk of the Course”, or, essentially the person that runs things. You will even see a gym at the school named in her honor.”
Over the years, Ruth taught gym class, coached several girls’ sports teams, while becoming one of the first female athletic directors in Southern California. In fact, the school’s gym was named in her honor.
She influenced not only students, but staff, too. Every alumni returning to teach at the school remembers Ruth as an educator. Now, they marvel at her sense of duty, which has lasted for decades.
"Ms. Knapp is an invaluable, faithful, hardworking teacher that has dedicated her life to making herself available to all students said Aaron Peterson, a social studies teacher at Verdugo Hills. “Ms. Knapp has always put students first and her 50 years of service are extremely appreciated at Verdugo Hills High School."
Coming Tuesday: The challenge of providing mental health services in the nation's second-largest school district.