On Centre | Around Philipsburg: After starting in the gym, Stewart had impact on P-O

Gym class is pretty much the same all over.

There are children who excel and those who are dodge ball magnets. There are wrestling mats, volleyball nets and climbing ropes.

And there are gym teachers.

People seem to find it easy to focus on the “gym” and not the “teacher,” dismissing that class as recess with a grade.

Principals can fall into a similar trap. I mean, hey, what do they really teach, right? Wrong.

At Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High, the lady in the top office has been both.

Robin Stewart taught physical education at P-O back in the day. You might have this science teacher or that math teacher depending on which grade you were in and what path you were taking, but sophomore or senior, academic or secretarial, everyone had a class with Stewart.

She was one of those tough teachers, the kind that didn’t miss things. That is why we should never have been surprised to see her trade her sweat suit for business attire as she moved into a different role.

Stewart has been a perennial face in the district, doing whatever needed to be done.

She served time steering the ship at the junior high, closing it down as it transitioned to become the new middle school. She has been the disciplinarian and the leader, the person who saw who needed help and the one who decided what would help everyone.

But the whistle is about to blow on Stewart’s tenure at P-O. Not long after she watches the Class of 2015 move their tassels and toss their caps, the gym teacher who taught everyone more than kickball and the principal who did more than issue detention (although she gave it to me more than once), will be retiring.

She has been a part of the lives of Mounties for decades, helping them transition from kids to adults, teaching them the game of life and how to play by the rules.

Now that is an education.