A Grand General


As the school year comes to an end, Shafter High School celebrates 91 years of pride and tradition.

One teacher on campus has taught for more than half of the school’s existence, and she continues to teach because it’s more than a job to Mrs. Vickie Shoenhair, it’s family.

“I’ve been teaching here at Shafter High for 50 years,” said Vickie Shoenhair, head of the P.E. Department at Shafter High School.

It’s unheard-of, teaching at one school for 50 years.

“I think it’s fantastic. You know I came here from Colorado and Shafter’s become my home, my family,” Shoenhair said.

Five decades on campus teaching generations of student.

“I laugh, I have children who come and say to me, ‘ohhh did you know you had my great-grandmother?’ You know it’s really fun and the community is such an outstanding community. It just makes life easy, good. I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life. It’s like getting up every day and coming out to play,” Shoenhair said.

Her impact is immeasurable.

“Vickie was my inspiration. My mom was here when Vickie first started. I’ve had multiple cousins that have had Vickie, my sister, I had her and I hope for my niece who is going to be a sophomore next year will have her. It’s a family out here and she’s definitely an integral part of that family,” said Valarie Labrentz, Dean of Students, Shafter High School.

She connects with her students.

Even those who…let’s just say test her skills as a teacher.

“Well, her first year I was a sophomore at Shafter high in the 1969/1970 school year and her name was Ms. Wyatt. People don’t think teachers earn their pay, the fact that she still talks to me after what we put her through 50 years ago is crazy,” said Doug Thompson, Independent Studies, Shafter High School.

“Doug was in my class and he was ornery in my class, and he’s still ornery outside of my class,” Shoenhair laughed.

In reality…

“It makes me proud. It makes me proud to see what the kids have become,” Shoenhair said.

“It’s really inspiring because you have to give credit where credit is due,” Thompson said.

She bleeds blue and gold.

General pride through and through.

“I started out here 22 years ago and I knew right away that she was that person who was a standout, pride and tradition, the go-to person. You knew at the end of the day that with Vickie it was always about the kids. You always knew at the end of the day it was going to be what was best for kids and what was best for our program,” said Russell Shipley, Principal, Shafter High School.

Principal Shipley said she gives 110 percent everyday.

When I asked her why, she responded…

“The kids. The kids are fantastic here,” Shoenhair said.

An educator for all the right reasons.

“Everyday when I come to school I tell the kids and I tell myself, if you don’t learn something new today, you’re not doing your job,” Shoenhair said.

A mentor and a leader or in other words – a General.

“I just wish we could have more of our teachers that could stay and dedicate their time for 50 years. It’s really a ride. It’s a great ride,” Shoenhair said.

Shoenhair has no plans to retire.

She said being a teacher at Shafter High School is just what she is and what she does.

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