Urbana High School is losing an important part of its identity.
Tuesday's News-Gazette carried a story about high school social studies teacher Michael Pollock, who is taking a medical leave of absence.
Many people are very sorry to learn that because Pollock has made quite a favorable impression in the 10-plus years he has been at Urbana High. The 64-year-old Pollock came late in life to the teaching profession. But it's no surprise that he's done well in the classroom because he did well in his other roles in this community, as a businessman running Record Service and as a public official in various stints that include membership on the Urbana City Council.
It was unclear back in the old days that there was an aspiring teacher just waiting for an opportunity to get into a classroom. But it was clear that Pollock was an effective citizen leader, a fair-minded, decent person willing to step up and do jobs that other people were often reluctant to embrace.
Pollock has set an outstanding example for others to follow. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he has set outstanding examples for others to follow — whether it be in public service or in remaking himself later in life and becoming a teacher much admired by his students.
Teaching is, to say the least, a noble and important profession. All students remember the outstanding teachers they had. That Pollock falls into that category is both a tribute to him and an inspiration for others who are thinking of a career change and considering teaching as a meaningful way to contribute to society.