The North Bend Eagle


Soukups brings 33 years of teaching to a close

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 5/29/13

Barb Soukup is retiring from teaching after 33 years, 17 of them in the Morse Bluff/North Bend school system.

Born in Wisconsin, Barb’s family moved to Dodge where she graduated from high school. She received her degree in elementary eduction from Wayne State College. On June 9, 1979, she married Morse Bluff native Jerry Soukup and settled in this area.

Her first year of teaching was at West Point Public School with third graders. She then had the experience of the past when she taught at a one-room school house at Dist. 51 northwest of Prague. Grades K-8 had ten students.

“We had no running water and indoor outhouses,” Soukup said “That was a modern convenience when the school was built but not in 1979. I hauled water to drink and wash with from home.”

Her pay for that first year was $8,000.

When her first son, James, was born, Soukup stayed at home. Another son, Matthew, came a few years later. Soukup planned to stay home for a while.
In 1983 the Morse Bluff school board was looking for a part-time kindergarten teacher. Board member Jim Vech approached Soukup ans and asked if she was interested.

“I was and was offered the job that same night exactly two weeks till school was going to start,” Soukup said.

She taught kindergarten in Morse Bluff for 17 years. Her first class had 7 in it, and she ended up teaching a total of 140 Morse Bluff and North Bend students.

The last year she moved to Cotterell to teach kindergarten. When the schools closed and consolidated in one building in North Bend, Soukup began a new adventure, continuing to teach kindergartners in Valley Public Schools, which later merged with Waterloo and became Douglas County West Community Schools (DC West). She continued in Kindergarten for nine years until the opportunity came to move to first grade, which she did for her last three years of teaching.

“I did this for several reasons,” Soukup said. “One, I had never taught that grade and I wanted to know if for the past 27 years if I really had taught them everything they needed to know. Now I can say I taught all grades K-8. My passion was teaching kindergartners. I just loved that age the best!”

Soukup’s sons are grown and educated. James and his wife Mikka live in Kansas City, Kan. Son Matthew lives in Lincoln and comes back to help on the family farm. They, along with her husband Jerry, are hosting a reception June 9 at the Morse Bluff American Legion Hall in honor of Barb’s retirement.

With retirement in sight, Soukup doesn’t really plan to slow down.

“I plan to help more on the family farm, do some substitute teaching, travel, use our RV more, read, garden, develop my stories and puppets to put on programs at varies events, volunteer, relax and last clean out my stuff,” she said, “and share stories of how my students have entertained me for the last 33 years.”

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