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Mr. Mathcounts retires

Chuck Bozdog | CRA Middle School’s technology coordinator’s teaching career spanned 50 years
2014-06-11T06:00:00Z Mr. Mathcounts retiresBy DEREK BROUWER Independent Record Helena Independent Record

It’s tempting to define the legacy Chuck Bozdog will leave at C.R. Anderson Middle School by the numbers.

The teacher is retiring this week after 50 years with the school — his tenure only five years shorter than the age of the school.

During that time, Bozdog, the school’s technology coordinator, has overseen development of its computer resources from scratch.

“Fifty years ago there was no such thing as a personal computer. The only thing I could actually teach was programming,” he said.

Since computers were introduced into the school, virtually every middle school student who has passed through C.R.A. has taken classes in Bozdog’s labs.

Do the math: For each of the past 20 years, C.R.A. has enrolled around 1,000 sixth- through eighth-graders. That means Bozdog has taught more than 7,000 students just in the latter half of his career.

“What’s great about Chuck is his lasting legacy with people who have gone through the building — people who have gone to MIT … doctors, engineers, this whole Westside community,” said Principal Bruce Campbell.

Numbers measure Bozdog’s longevity, but they also capture his success. He started the school’s legendary Mathcounts program, teaching an intensive math class that prepares students to compete in the nationwide competition.

During one dominant stretch, his teams took the state championship 10 times in 16 years.

“He’s by far the best Mathcounts teacher this state has ever seen,” Campbell said.

Even as he retires, Bozdog speaks about his teaching with the gusto of a young educator, and he’s proud to have dedicated his life to it.

“I think teaching is probably the most important profession there is,” he said. “I did the right thing in life.”

Fellow teacher Leslie Hagengruber described Bozdog as one of the hardest-working people she’s ever known.

“I think he puts a tremendous effort into finding programs (for students) and making sure the computer labs run,” she said. “Being able to go to that computer lab is like a breath of fresh air.”

Hagengruber, who teaches students who struggle with math, said her students feel encouragement and find success when they practice math skills in Bozdog’s lab.

“He has a really special way of relating to their kids,” she said.

During a recent class, one of Hagengruber’s students counted off the number of family members who have been taught by Bozdog. After listing them, the 14-year-old announced that he wants Mr. Bozdog to teach his kids as well.

If Bozdog had his way, he might have done just that. His biggest gripe with retiring is that he won’t be allowed to lend a hand in the computer labs.

“I’m going to miss the kids, miss the teachers, miss the problem solving,” Bozdog said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. Daryle
    Report Abuse
    Daryle - June 11, 2014 10:42 pm
    To the extent Mr Bozdog will miss the students and the teachers, I trust the feeling is mutual. I truly hope you are able to enjoy a very well deserved retirement, sir.
  2. aj59601
    Report Abuse
    aj59601 - June 11, 2014 7:10 pm
    I am sure Mr. Bozdog has taught many people in my family as well. And to think of the difference he has made in my. I came to his 7th grade class from an elementary school class that was fully a year behind in math back in the 70's. By the end of that year, every one of us was caught up and every one of us went on to take advanced math courses at Capital High. I learned to love math and computers so much that I made my career in systems development, and the most enjoyable work I do involves finding ways to get the computer do all my math for me so I never key anything or make an error in computing anything. That's the kind of passion for the material that Mr. Bozdog can pass on. That was 42 years ago. I have never forgotten him or his class. I should have thanked him much sooner. I hope he will see the comments on this web site.
  3. bridjette
    Report Abuse
    bridjette - June 11, 2014 11:19 am
    Thanks so much for the positive difference you have made in so many student's lives/futures!

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