Bethel elementary school teacher retiring after 42 years

TACOMA, Wash. -- A beloved teacher is retiring after more than four decades at a Bethel School District elementary school. To honor his service to his community, the school threw him a celebration on Friday.

Mark Stricherz is a sixth-grade teacher at Clover Creek Elementary, and has been for 42 years.  This year was his last, and to celebrate, former students, family members and fellow teachers came together for a party honoring him.

"I'm feeling loved, and overwhelmed," he said. "All of these people here, I've never forgotten them. And I've always considered them my kids. Even though they're older now, they're 40 and 50 now, but I still consider them my kids."

Stricherz's former students say Friday's party was just a small fraction of the students who wanted to honor him, and that he is well loved because he treated all of his students like family.