After 12 years at St. Louis U. High, Tom Kickham will be moving on at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. Katy Perry blasting at 7:30 a.m., shouting “Hey Brother!” in the hallways, and a warm and agreeable presence will be lost with Kickham’s departure.
Kickham came to SLUH from Eureka High School and immediately found a deep love for the religious aspect that tied into education that he did not have at Eureka. In terms of his faith, Kickham highly valued the chance to attend Mass daily, as well as the opportunity to embark on many immersion trips.
“I spent a lot of time in Mass reflecting on a student who was on my mind from the previous day,” said Kickham. “It was really valuable to me.”
In addition to Mass, Kickham was able to build his faith through the service trips sponsored by SLUH. Kickham has been on journeys to Camden, N.J. to aid the poor, and Jerusalem Farm in Kansas City to experience the unique living styles that took place there.
“The trips gave a rich context to being a teacher,” said Kickham.
Just as Kickham valued each and every one of his students, the seniors that he has taught in turn love him and his class.
“I liked Mr. Kickham as a teacher, because I believe he truly cared about me as an individual,” said senior Ryan Kellogg. “Not only this, but there was never a dull moment in his class, which always had me excited whenever I stepped inside the psychology classroom.”
Even for students outside of his classroom, the energy that Kickham always brought to class was evident. Stories of the exciting activities in AP Psych always seemed to spread through the school.
“In his class he was always super engaging and you never knew what to expect,” said senior Ethan Keutzer. “Tackling kids out of chairs, throwing things, and having kids stand on him, to name a few. He had nicknames for all of his students and was always a bright personality that made everyone’s days a little bit better.”
Due to the nature of the occupation, retiring from teaching can be an especially difficult endeavor. Going to peaceful, almost quiet days of relaxation and reflection after surrounding oneself with rambunctious teenage boys for almost 40 years can be a radical change. Kickham especially anticipates the change in scenery to be difficult.
“Part of what I'm going to do is try to shift my identity. I want to carry with me the idea of ‘once a teacher always a teacher,’ but I'm going to have to not be as invested in teaching, or I'm not going to have a happy retirement,” said Kickham.
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