Happy Trails to Mr. Ryan

happy-trails-to-mr-ryanBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Welcome back from a delightfully long and glorious holiday vacation! The students were their usual animated selves upon return, eager to share all the stories from their adventures. And having our “snowy day” in the middle of the short week only added to the energy.

As the first week back ends, we sadly have to bid a very fond farewell to a true unsung hero of the SFS community – “Mr. Ryan”. Ryan Hanley has been a fixture on the Goshen Campus for 9 ½ years now and has served in a wide variety of roles. He began as a bus driver, spent some time as a Junior Kindergarten assistant teacher (demonstrating his incredible patience), was a Preschool assistant with the 2-year-olds for a stint, and then transitioned into our maintenance department. Wow! And all the while working on his graduate degree and his ever-growing family!

I asked Ryan for a “favorite memory” from his days at St. Francis and received a warm and humorous response:

“I came to St. Francis to find a good job to get through graduate school. What I found were wonderful, dedicated people who do their jobs well and know how to have fun doing it…people who became friends. My favorite memories include just about any job I got to do with Walter Denham, who manages to make the most mundane task the best thing to be doing in that moment. This includes a list of hundreds of “weird things” we found ourselves doing in the maintenance department, from burying numerous class pets to random projects teachers might need help with.” [Editor’s note: He said his “honorable mention memory” is building awesome and unique drama sets.]

As to next steps for Ryan?

“This year, my goal is to finish (or nearly finish) my dissertation and put grad school in the rear-view mirror. My new job will include developing online courses for Southern Seminary and also teaching several classes myself (like Hebrew, Ancient Near Eastern History, and Old Testament Survey). One of the biggest challenges of online education is overcoming the gap created by the lack of face-to-face interaction. I am excited to be doing work focusing on how to bridge that gap.”

We certainly wish Ryan the best as he embarks on his new path. As I mentioned earlier, he has been a very valuable contributor to our community, but it is his personality and character that set him apart. Always smiling, calm, and pleasant, Ryan Hanley is a true gentleman who treats everyone with respect and dignity and passes along good cheer wherever he may go. I’m sure he will take some of St. Francis with him as enters a new phase of his life. And he will help others to learn that the “best things” are indeed occurring every single moment.