VSMS student presented Herb McNeill with a sign honoring his 43 years of teaching at VSMS.

VSMS students applaud as Mr. Lyle receives the sign made in honor of his 46 years of teaching at VSMS.

Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School students gathered in the gym, impatiently sitting as Mrs. Peterson worked her way through the list of awards and honors. They applauded their peers for making the Honor Roll, being named a Star student, or for earning other awards in academics, sports or music. But as they did all this, they were eagerly looking forward to celebrating a very special, unique award presentation.

Then finally, the principal reached the end of list, the moment they had been waiting for for nearly 90 minutes: A special presentation to two of the longest-serving teachers in school history.

Mrs. Howes-Vonstein took her turn at the microphone to honor Don Lyle, the 8th grade math teacher, and Herb McNeill, who teaches Industrial Arts for 6th-8th grade. Both are retiring at the end of this school year, the 46th for Mr. Lyle and 43rd for Mr. McNeill.

VSMS students present Don Lyle a sign in honor of his 46 years of teaching there.

“I think if you teach more than 40 years, you should have part of the school named after you,” said Mrs. H-V, to an increasingly-loud applause.

From now on, she said, the hallway leading to the shop classroom will be known as McNeill Way; and the hallway between the office and library, where Mr. Lyle teaches, will be known as Lyle Lane. Several students carried the two black sign from the stands and presented it to the teachers.

Throughout the final trimester, said Mrs. H-V, there will be many more tributes to Mr. McNeill and Mr. Lyle, and the others who are retiring at the end of this school year.