Moffat County High School teacher Bettina Magas poses in the front yard of her home on School Street. Magas, a math teacher, said she enjoys working in her garden, on her house and traveling in her spare time.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Moffat County High School teacher Bettina Magas poses in the front yard of her home on School Street. Magas, a math teacher, said she enjoys working in her garden, on her house and traveling in her spare time.

My Life, My Words: Bettina Magas: School involvement, then and now

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Occupation: Math teacher at Moffat County High School

“I teach math at the high school. This semester, I’m teaching pre-algebra, consumer math and geometry. This is my seventh year full-time, and I subbed before that. I did subbing at other schools, but full-time, I’ve always taught at the high school. I graduated with a B.S. in business from the University of Wyoming. I grew up in Craig. I graduated from the high school in 1975. That was when it was still in the old building.

“The atmosphere of the high school is pretty good right now. It’s a smaller population than we’ve had in a while, but it’s good. Right now, they’re winding up for all the activities and the dress days for Homecoming Week. I don’t have any involvement in it, the student council does all that, and they’ve done a really good job with it. Heather Foss and Delaine Brown took over as the faculty advisers for that a few years ago, and they’ve increased the number of students involved with it. They do everything and they’re very organized about it.

“I think the involvement in Homecoming isn’t quite as much across the student body as it used to be. Part of that is that they don’t require classes to make a float. It’s optional now. Although last year, they had a lot of kids making floats. When I was in high school, it was a big deal, everybody was involved. Even if you weren’t involved in sports. Everybody participated in all the different activities. I think it’s geared more to the kids involved in sports now. People get really focused on football, but we don’t want to forget about all the other sports, like golf and cross-country and soccer, who are doing really well. It’s not just about football.

“I’m just a spectator, I’m not involved in any of the sports. My son, Andrew, was on the football team for his freshman year, but he got hurt before his sophomore year. He hurt his shoulder, and he was never able to play again. It was really hard on him, and it affected his basketball, too. My daughter, Sara, never did sports because she had health issues, but she was involved with the volleyball team as their manager.

“I work out to stay active, I go to the gym. I’ve been bad about getting back into my schedule, but I usually go every day after work and lift. I’ve got bad knees from when I did sports in high school. It was before we got to play other teams. I did intramural basketball and track. I had knee surgery over the summer before my senior year, so I couldn’t do it then, and that’s when they starting playing other towns. When I was in school, if you didn’t play basketball or do track, and you were a girl, you were in the pep club or cheerleading.

“They say if students are involved in sports, their academics are better because that’s motivation for them to do better. I have several students whose grades are up when they’re in sports, but once the season is over, they’re not as worried about their grades. The coaches have been really good about tying spring semester grades to fall sports, so if they don’t do well in their classes, they’re on limited status in the fall.

“Math is one of the kids’ least favorite subjects, so we’re always trying to find ways to tie in real-life applications. I didn’t use much math until I started teaching it. I always thought I was a poor math student. I wasn’t, I did okay. I never would have thought that I would end up teaching math as a career.

“Around the house, I do a lot of home improvement and gardening, stuff like that. When we get opportunities, we do little road trips, me and my husband, Jerry, now that we’re technically empty-nesters. Andrew is living here and working, but we can come and go as we please. I just like doing things with my husband.”

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