Retired ND Teacher Forms Bond With Eagles Elementary Students Through Stories

Clark Tufte was a teacher for more than 50 years

FARGO, N.D. — While most people retire after a long career, one North Dakota teacher just can’t seem to call it quits. KVRR’s Danielle Church tells us how he’s now using his talent to spread a little holiday cheer.

With a red and white hat, he’s not exactly Santa Claus.

But to these fourth graders, Clark Tufte, gives them the best gift of all.

“He has all these different voices and his face is so into the book,” said Clara Meline, a fourth grader at Eagles Elementary. 

“He’s just awesome to listen to,” said Avery Johnson, a fourth grader at Eagles Elementary. 

On every Wednesday, you can find Tufte in Mrs. Robin Wacha’s fourth grade class sharing some classic children’s tales and a little extra.

“He even tries to teach us life lessons in them too,” said Ashtyn Mund, a fourth grader at Eagles Elementary. 

As a teacher for more than 50 years across North Dakota and Indiana, passing along some insight was the only thing he was meant to do.

“When I grew up with my family, I didn’t know any professional people other than teachers. That was the only career I ever thought of. That was really the only career I needed too because I really did love every day I went.”

Knowing he could bring a little something extra to class.

“Our class is special because he takes the time out of his day to come read to us on Wednesdays,” Mund said.

And see it right in the audience.

“There’s just nothing better than their faces when they’re sitting and looking at you while you’re reading a story. There’s just nothing better than that. Maybe I’m just a ham at heart. Maybe I’m just an entertainer at heart,” Tufte said.

Tufte is a character.

Filling a hole for some in the class.

“We have kids who don’t have grandparents here or kids that are from other countries and a lot of their extended family are gone. So to have Clark work with them and build a relationship is fabulous for them,” Wacha said.

Gaining another family member is why these students can’t get enough of Tufte.

“They look for his car, they escort him up to the classroom, they take him back down. And if he’s ever absent, they’re absolutely disheartened,” Wacha said.

Luckily these students will still keep on hearing more of their favorites.

“As long as the walker works, I don’t really have any reason to stop,” Tufte said.

Because the best storyteller around isn’t retiring again anytime soon.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News

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