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Mr. Fahler in front of CMS

By Faith Jones (8th grade)

How do you measure the worth of a human being? Is it by the work they do or the people they help? Is it by their readiness to lend a hand or their compassion for others?

The simple answer is, you can't. However, you can appreciate the things they do every single day, because you may not realize how much it means until they are gone.

Mr. Fahler has been in the education game for a long time, over 20 years in fact. He has worn many hats, including that of a high school math teacher, assistant principal, and a long-time principal of CMS.

Now he is taking on a whole new path. Retirement.

Mr. Fahler walked us through his career in teaching starting with his experiences as a student.

Mr. Fahler photoshopped into fishing waders in the middle of a river

From a young age, Mr. Fahler loved school: he was involved in sports and always thought it would be fun to be a teacher. That dream came true when he became a Math teacher for a local Lehigh Valley high school, also coaching the basketball team. Teaching gave him a new view on life as he built relationships and grew to adapt to each student's learning needs, ultimately learning a lot himself.

Mr. Fahler was close with every student he worked with, and so it was a big change going from a high school teacher to a middle school principal.

This was a hard concept for him to grasp, as he went from the role of immediate role model to a disciplinary figure. In order to try to connect to kids and still teach them the life lessons he so believed in, Mr. Fahler began saying the morning announcements, and the birth of the two maxims we know so well.

Since that day, the words "Be kind and do your best" have rung through the hallways of CMS. Every morning, for nearly 20 years.

Within two decades of teaching many you- have-to-see-it-to-believe- it moments have happened. As they happen Mr. Fahler has learned it is best to adjust to the situation and do whatever you can to help.

Not only does he strongly believe in it, but Mr. Fahler also shows us this value everyday, whether we see it or not. During COVID, there were multiple times when students didn't have access to the supplies they needed, so Mr. Fahler dropped them off himself.

We often don't realize how much he does around our school and community. Since October, Mr. Fahler has been working on getting his bus driver's license amidst the shortage— ready to step in to help serve our school and its students. He is currently subbing in for two math teachers because no subs are available. He has even picked up a child to bring them to school after they overslept and missed the bus.

He does all of this, not for the recognition, but because he cares.

Mr. Fahler photoshopped as Bob the Builder

"If you don't love kids, you are probably in the wrong profession," he said, which couldn't be more true.

At the end of a busy day Mr. Fahler has often looked at his to-do list and checked off not even half the boxes, before adding twice as many. Most nights, he's at school far into the evening, cracking open a can of Chef Boyardee for dinner, simply so he can power through with the work he wants to get finished.

He has said that this job keeps him constantly busy, but he couldn't be more grateful for it.

"Teaching at Colonial has been my greatest gift other than my family," he admitted.

But when your life revolves around your incredibly busy job for nearly 20 years, what do you do when you wake up on the Tuesday after Labor Day and realize you don't have to go to school?

As long as he can find someone to help, he said, he can keep himself busy. That is not to say Mr. Fahler doesn't have plans.

He wants to renovate his house for his wife, spend more time with his kids and grandkids, and take care of his parents and in-laws.

And after so much time looking out for all of us first it's time for Mr. Fahler to focus on his own health again. Before COVID, Mr. Fahler used to walk almost I0 miles a day, a habit he would love to get back to. If needed, Mr. Fahler has said he would love to tutor kids in his free time, because he will miss helping kids after his last day at CMS.

But he said that he will miss the community he has built the most.

Mr. Fahler looking in virtual reality visor

Mr. Fahler "looking" forward to retirement.

In his last days at our school, Mr. Fahler shared with us the most important advice he needs us to know. First, have patience; if something doesn't work out the way you want, have faith—you cannot control everything in life, and it will all work out in the end.

"I never would have thought that I would end up being a Middle School principal in a district an hour from where I grew up, but it has been one of the greatest blessings of my life," he said.

What has helped him more than anything else in his years here, and a lesson we should all learn, is to always be receptive to feedback— learning to accept that other people truly do want to help you.

For many of us, Mr. Fahler has been with us our entire middle school career, and whether we realize it or not, he has made a difference in our lives in more ways than we can or could count.

He has shared with us his life experiences, watched kids in our school grow from small insecure 6th graders to high schoolers, to college students, to adults, to parents, and even some to teachers. And he has helped us in every way he could.

So on that last day of school, when the words "Be kind and do your best" come through the loudspeakers one last time, let's take heed.

Let's carry on the beliefs, and ensure the legacy that Mr. Fahler has left behind.