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Published May 25, 2011, 09:24 PM

After 35 Years With Perfect Attendance, Stephen-Argyle Teacher to Retire

34-year commute from Grand Forks equals about 675K miles
This is the last week for a Stephen-Argyle Central Elementary school teacher. After more than three decades with a perfect attendance record, Terry Kapella will retire.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

This is the last week for a Stephen-Argyle Central Elementary school teacher.

After more than three decades with a perfect attendance record, Terry

Kapella will retire.

Kapella taught in Stephen and then Argyle for 35 years and never missed a day of school, unless he took a vacation day to hunt. All of that, with a commute from his home in Grand Forks.

Kapella is spending his last week at Stephen Argyle Central Elementary school doing what he loves: helping kids to love learning. On Wednesday, it was testing weight limits of bridges built with tooth picks.

After 35 years of teaching school in Stephen and Argyle, Kapella is retiring from his classroom.

"People of Stephen were very nice and parents were supportive of the school," Kapella said.

Students say Kapella's humor made learning fun.

"I thought he was going to be, because of his deep voice, he was going to yell a lot, but he turned out to be a good teacher," student Savannah Riopelle said.

"When we were doing volume, I didn't quite understand it so I went up to him and asked him some questions about it. And he helped me and now I can measure the volume of a cylinder," student Abbey Johnson said.

"Kidding around a little bit, and (students) laugh, they get more interested in what we are talking about. To me, it's a good way of teaching kids," Kapella said.

Kapella leads students by example, with a perfect attendance record over 35 years. The toughest part of 34 of them is the daily commute between Grand Forks and Stephen-Argyle. That trip has added up to be about 675,000 miles.

"They figured it out and that was probably to the moon and back," Kapella said.

"(He) comes to work with a smile on his face after the 40 minute drive from Grand Forks everyday. He checks the roads for us most days," Stephen-Argyle superintendent Chris Mills said.

Kapella says, commute and all, he doesn't regret a day, and will miss the small town way.

"Grand Forks is a great town and I enjoy Grand Forks too, but a small town is where people help out people," Kapella said.

Kapella says he doesn't have any big plans for his retirement, but does say he will not miss the long commute.

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