Farmington High School has experienced a lot of change recently, with a brand new building opening just last year. Everywhere you look at FHS, there are new classrooms, new technology and new freshmen faces. There is even a new greenhouse. But through it all, and for the past 57 years, there has always been one constant – Mr. Gerald Bonds.
“I thought I was going to quit after the first year,” Bonds jokes. “But I came back and it’s really been my life.”
Indeed, he did come back. And he kept coming back.
This year, Bonds has signed his 58th contract with Farmington Municipal Schools and has been at FHS for every single one. 57 years is believed to be the longest tenure of any teacher at the same school in the state of New Mexico.
Bonds will jokingly say he first rode to his teaching job in a “covered wagon,” but FHS Principal Tim Kienitz said he is constantly amazed at the energy his horticulture teacher brings to school.
“Even in the summer, Mr. Bonds is here working in greenhouse, and giving tours for class reunions,” Kienitz said. “He is a true legacy teacher and is a great influence on every FHS teacher and student. We are very lucky to have had him for his entire teaching career.”
By his own estimate, Bonds has seen about 7,000 students come and go from his classroom.
Bonds has seen many of his students go on to seek careers in the horticulture field. Some own landscaping businesses or teaching horticulture at colleges but all of them benefitted from Bonds’ dedication and influence.
“I get notes or letters from students and it really does bring tears to your eyes,” Bonds said. “You never know what kind of influence you have on a student.
The current FHS administration says they rarely get a discipline referral from students in Mr. Bonds class. Rather than sending students to the office, Mr. Bonds prefers to talk with the student personally. He finds that getting along with all the students and connecting with them on a personal level keeps students out of trouble.
“The students aren’t here for me – I’m here for them. I’m here to help them. That’s all I want to do,” Bonds said. “It’s all about what I can do for them. That’s the way I’ve always felt.”
Successful poinsettia sales and Mother’s Day plant sales have been due to Bonds’ hard work. These efforts do not go unnoticed by his students, the community or FMS.
“Mr. Bonds dedication is a true example of Rising to Excellence in Every Pursuit,” Dr. Eugene Schmidt, FMS Superintendent, said. “We thank Mr. Bonds for his career full of student success, learning and connections. It’s what we all strive for at FMS.”
Are you ready to start your own legacy at Farmington Municipal Schools? Apply here today.