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Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Science teacher heads for hills

Campbell shows off his good-bye card from his students that art teacher Robert Aldrich created for him
Campbell shows off his good-bye card from his students that art teacher Robert Aldrich created for him

He stuck it out. He accomplished not quitting. “I’m the tortoise not the hare,” he said, “but I win the race.”

Aged with a friendly smile, suited with a cluttered white beard, along with a welcoming, bright attitude, Donald Campbell would most likely be recognized by biology students.

As the school year comes down to an end, so are his days of being employed as a high school teacher.

“I’m 65 and a half,” he said. “It’s time to retire.”

This year is Campbell’s second and last year teaching at Stagg. Before, he taught at Marshall Middle School, IBML, and others, completing 22 years of work in Stockton.

Forty-four years ago, in 1969, was when Campbell started his teaching career. He taught for 37 years straight, then took a break. During that break, he completed two years of graduate school, and worked as a mailman, construction worker, and a temporary employee.

A year later, Campbell went back into teaching by joining the Peace Corps — an American Service Organization that helps people in other countries in different areas like health, agriculture, and education.

“It was a wonderful experience teaching in Thailand,” he said. “The students are respectful and very polite.” When Campbell returned, he resumed work as a teacher.

Like every teacher, Campbell had challenges of dealing with a defiant student. However, Campbell said this year’s students were well-behaved.

“Even though the students are talkative, they’re not serious behavior kids,” he said. “I had an enjoyable last year.”

Still, Campbell faced one of the most heartbreaking times in the past year. Last November, his wife died of cancer. Campbell was out for three weeks of school.

When he returned, Campbell encountered what will now be the greatest memory in his years of teaching at Stagg. With the help of art teacher Robert Aldrich, five of his classes designed and wrote a huge card, in sympathy for his loss. The card was filled with pages of sweet, meaningful notes from his students.                                                                                                                                                                     

“I really appreciated this when I came back in November,” Campbell said. “I’m very grateful. It really made me feel good.”

Sophomore Matthew Greenberg says he would tell anyone that Campbell is “funny, smart, and cares a lot about his students.”

“Mr.Campbell is hilarious,” said D’Gene Griffin, a sophomore. “He’s my favorite teacher.”

Greenberg describes his retirement as bittersweet. “He’s a great teacher and I’m going to miss him,” he said, “but he’ll get to retire and relax on his own time.”

Campbell has adventures planned after his retirement. “I mainly want to pursue my hobbies and interests.” He has many interests, but the activity at the top of his list is playing golf. Another would be Tai-chi.

“Tai-chi is what helped me survive the 22 years,” Campbell laughed.

His other interests include reading, photography, drawing, music, hiking, exercising, yoga, eating healthy, and traveling.

He hopes to travel to Japan, Thailand, and Hawaii. He also plans to visit family and friends from coast to coast.

Campbell owns a house 4,000 feet up in the mountains. “That’s where I’ll live,” he laughs. “I think I’ll stay in the hills most of the time.”

He’ll come down to visit, from time to time. “And of course to play golf with friends.”


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Science teacher heads for hills