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Everything has to come to an end, even things that may seem to last forever. Beth Vogt has been teaching at Lincoln Elementary for the past 46 years, and is retiring at the end of this year.

Vogt’s daughter, who also teaches at Lincoln, recently had a baby. Vogt figured now would be a good time to announce her retirement to “trade in her class of 21 third-graders for a class of one, and I’ll be a granny nanny.”

Cathy Savidge, who has been teaching with Vogt for 27 years, said Vogt is a wonderful person who has a genuine laugh and loves having fun with the kids. Savidge said Vogt knows sign language and Spanish, which helps her get along with all her students.

“She is a very fun-loving, giving person,” Savidge said. “I feel blessed, and I know all of the third grade feels blessed to have worked with her all these years. She is like a sister, I have been working with her for so long I’ve been with her so long, we have been friends for so long.”

Vogt attended Lincoln Elementary when she was a third-grader and has never moved out of Ellensburg. She started teaching in the Selah School District and commuted back and forth. She hoped to one day teach in Ellensburg. Eventually she was hired to teach at Lincoln and has taught there ever since. Never changing schools, or even classrooms.

“I think it’s an exceptional neighborhood school and that’s what’s so unique about Ellensburg,” Vogt said. “I’m getting children from my old third-graders, so I have an opportunity to work with grandparents who used to be the parents of my students, and parents that used to be my students. It’s really unique, Ellensburg is a very special place to raise children and to educate them.”

Lincoln Principal JoAnne Duncan said many teachers in the school including herself have nothing but respect for Vogt. Duncan said it is clear Vogt cares for every child she teaches, and puts a lot of time and energy into making sure each student remembers their time at Lincoln.

“I just think she has been a real inspiration,” Duncan said. “Her love of teaching and her love of children you just feel it every day at school. I call it a work of heart because she puts so much heart into everything that she does.”

Duncan said one thing she will never forget about Vogt is her ability to start a chant. She said Vogt would walk into a crowd and cheer, “I don’t know but I’ve been told, Lincoln scholars are brave and bold! Sound off…!” And then students would join in the cheer.

“She can just get the attention of the crowd at the drop of a hat,” Duncan said. “I will always hear her doing those things.”

Vogt said she currently has three or four students in her class whose parents were once her students. She notices that people tend to stay in Ellensburg. Her own children attended Lincoln, and now her daughter is a teacher.

“It’s like a dream come true! I mean I went to Lincoln, she and my son went to Lincoln,” Vogt said. “To have her teaching now, it’s like a Vogt tradition to have some Vogt in that building.”

FAMILY TRADITION

The Vogt family tradition of teaching goes back before Beth Vogt became a teacher. She said both her parents were teachers. Her mom taught kindergarten in Iowa, and her dad was a teacher and elementary teacher in Iowa. After her father got his doctorate, he moved the family to Ellensburg.

She said her parents never told their children to become teachers, but Beth and her three sisters became teachers anyway. Vogt said teaching is a passion for her, to be able to “instill the love of learning to young children.”

Amy Haberman was teaching third grade in the classroom next to Vogt, before the state closed schools due to COVID-19. She has known her for the past 20 years. Haberman has mixed feelings about Vogt leaving. On one hand, Vogt will be retiring to spend more time with her family, specifically her new grandson. On the other hand, Lincoln will be losing a wonderful and “irreplaceable” teacher.

“Room 15 will never quite be the same again,” Haberman said.

Teaching was very different when Vogt first started. She said it wasn’t uncommon for her students to spend the weekend at her house with herself and her husband. They would stay in a guest room and make dinners and other events. Things that teachers and students don’t do anymore.

“My family, my children that I work with always have a place in my heart. I go to weddings, I go to graduations I go to birthday parties,” Vogt said. “My kids, my students become my family.”

Vogt feels very blessed and lucky to have taught so many students over the last 46 years. She wants to thank the community of Ellensburg and everybody that touched the lives in Lincoln Elementary.

“I feel like I am the lucky one, I’ve been doing something I loved for over 46 years, and it has certainly enriched my life,” Vogt said.

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