The French language rooms on the third floor of Hastings High School (teacher Brian Drummond calls it the penthouse suite) are filled with French artifacts, reminders, photographs and keepsakes from trips.
They are the wonderful reminders of Brian and Sue Drummond's more than 30 years of teaching in the Hastings School District 200. This week, the Drummonds retire from their positions, but not from the community, they stress.
It has been a wonderful run, they shared in an interview earlier this week. How each became French teachers is remarkable, to say the least.
"I always wanted to teach," said Sue. "I always had the concept of French, that it would be cool to teach it.
"At 10 I heard this song in French - 'Dominique,'" she said. "And I also began saving for a trip to France. That was my dream. "I was lucky. I always knew what I wanted to do."
Brian's first connection with French was in his junior year in high school.
"I never had plans to teach it," he said. "Math was my real passion."
At one point, he considered a career in businesses. But it was at after he met Sue at Concordia College in Moorhead and she suggested teaching that he began considering that field.
He had already earned a business degree, so he decided to return to Concordia to earn his teaching degree.
When Brian was hired in Hastings 36 years ago, he was a hired as a math teacher.
"I loved teaching math," he recalled."Then, about three years into it, I remember the school board decided to offer French and they asked me to teach it."
He taught math and French, then eventually became all French and it has remained that way.
"It has been exciting," he said. "I mean, where else can you sing, act and get everyone involved. I have been so fortunate to teach here."
It worked well for Sue as well. After the Drummonds married, she was able to work part-time, first in Kenyon, then in Apple Valley.
"It worked perfect as our children (Marc, Kristin and James) were young," she said.
But as the French language grew in Hastings, there was a need for another teacher. Sue interviewed and was hired.
"It was a dream come true," she said. "We have been so blessed to live and teach here and be part of this community."
The school district has been and continues to be a good one, both said.
"There is a triangle involved with the parents, working with the teachers, and being involved with the kids," he said. "There could not be a better place. I love teaching here. When I began teaching, I said I'll give it five years and then I'll find a real job, (but) there is not a better job out there."
"It is a great place to live in and work. We have had amazing administrators who have been so supportive."
In 1993, the Drummonds initiated trips every other summer for their students.
"It was, and is, an extension of their learning," said Sue. "I have seen them personally develop so much and their self confidence grow."
The Drummonds have always wanted their students to succeed, not just in their area, but in all other areas
Sue referred to it as building blocks for success - "give them that feeling of 'I can,'" she said. "Success brings success."
" When I'm asked what I do, I say teach - I teach in French," said Brian.
The Drummonds, too, will be remembered for bringing the Mardi Gras celebration to Hastings 21 years ago. A student asked Brian about putting on the event and he agreed. The one-time event turned into many more.
But now, the time has come for just the Drummonds, they said.
They're planning a trip by themselves to France, looking forward to their first grandchild this fall and doing things when they decide.
But they are very appreciative to this community, this school district and its people. They're not leaving.
"We don't have any huge plans," said Brian."We're going to live life, take advantage of all the opportunities as they come, and march to the beat of the Drummonds."