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                                                                         Photo submitted
Daniel "Doc" Hatch retiring
By Principal Jarad Rinne

Walking through the halls of Licking High School are students from grades seven through twelve. They walk by a man every day who is small in stature but large in the hearts and memories of generations of LHS students. Nearly every student will pass by him with the greeting, “Hi Doc,” & “Good morning Doc,” to which comes the infamous reply in that strong presentation voice…”Humans!”
Doc Hatch has been a staple at LHS for 45 years, sharing his love and passion for the great outdoors with students on a daily basis. Even after 45 years, you will find Doc in the science lab every day, except for opening day of trout season, having thought-provoking, critical conversations with young people about life cycles, the anatomy of a frog, or the stages of succession in nature. What is so amazing is that these are students who would rather be connected most of the day to an electronic device for gaming or social networking purposes. However, Doc has them engaged in nature through discussion and exploration…by making nature come to life. 
In fact, Doc has long brought nature to the classroom as well as taken the classroom into nature. Many former students can recall taking notes in Doc’s classes while having a turtle crawling between your feet and holding a snake between your fingers (non-venomous, of course!). He has long included the study of turkey crops in advanced biology. That is an experience you are not able to get from a textbook or computer. What Doc was unable to bring to the classroom, he would take his students out of the classroom to experience. The annual trip to Teeter’s Eddy brought water quality to life for high school students. Field trips to explore land in the different stages of succession brought understanding and appreciation for the purpose of each stage. These trips and many more are examples of how Doc Hatch has made his imprint in the memories of so many students.
Doc Hatch began many of the organizations and events that have become staples of LHS. He helped begin the Licking chapter of National Honor Society. He founded the science club, stream team, science fair, insect collections and Environthon. In addition, Doc also was a sponsor of the speech team and National Forensics League for many years. Away from school he is a field consultant from the Missouri Department of Conservation, participated in many community theatre productions, and is an active member of the United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Cookie, have been very involved throughout the years in the Licking community. 
When asked why he chose to leave opportunities to teach at the college level on a regular basis for a life as a high school teacher, Doc consistently replies that he wouldn’t rather live anywhere else and do anything else. He loves coming to work everyday to see where the learning will take him and the students. Doc states that he has to spend a lot of time preparing because the students challenge him every day. 
Doc is retiring from LHS this school year to spend more time with Cookie and further his study of Missouri birds. So many have been honored to have him as their teacher, colleague, mentor and friend. His passion for teaching and learning, along with his dedication to the students and families of the Licking community will long be remembered and deeply appreciated. Thank you Doc!
The past three weeks, three retiring teachers have been highlighted in The Licking News. If you are a former student of one of these teachers, I encourage you to send them an email. They would love to hear from you the impact they had on your lives. Suzie Blackburn: sblackburn@licking.k12.mo.us; Tena Lewis: tlewis@licking.k12.mo.us; Dan “Doc” Hatch: dhatch@licking.k12.mo.us.


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