For more than 40 years Curt Schlinkmann has taught and coached at Mooseheart Child City & School. He teaches high school science and physics, serves as the boys track and field coach as well as the middle school football coach.
"I never really had an ambition to be a teacher," Schlinkmann said, "I think in the back of my mind I thought that I was going to be a fireman, policeman or something like that."
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But it's apparent that Schlinkmann made the right choice. It's special to him when a struggling student understands a problem, or finally understands the solution.
"I really like when the kids are successful," he said, "When they struggle and finally get it, it's like Christmastime for me. That is one of the things that really motivates me."
Teaching since 1973, the years have gone by in a blink of an eye.
"It doesn't seem like it has been 40 years, which, I guess is a good thing because everyday is a new experience because you never know what is going to happen when you walk into the classroom," Schlinkmann said.
In fact, Schlinkmann is not the only veteran teacher since many of the teachers and staff at Mooseheart have been there for more than 20 years.
Mooseheart, which is between Batavia and North Aurora, was dedicated in 1913. It continues to be a home to many students from all walks of life who often don't come from the best of circumstances. Through the generosity of volunteerism of members of the Moose fraternity, the children are provided with a nurturing environment from infancy through high school.
"Because it's a home, a lot of them will come back (to visit) and they will come back from 20 years ago and bring their family," Schlinkmann said. "Compared to a regular school we get to know our students a lot better. I have had some of these kids from sixth grade all the way through high school and I can see the growth year by year as they go from child to adult."
Going from the classroom to the athletic field, Schlinkmann has an opportunity to see his students in a different light.
"I like coaching because you see the kids in a different environment. You see a different part of them," Schlinkmann said.
Schlinkmann also enjoys a special bond with his students.
"It's a close-knit community and I view these students as if they are my children," he said, "I want their success as much as I want that for my children."