Friday, July 19, 2024

Lake City High teacher retires after 30 years

Staff Writer | June 16, 2024 1:07 AM

It took some time to sink in before Scott Jacobson could really articulate what it felt like to be retired.

"Everybody's been asking me the last two, three weeks, 'How's it feel to be retired?' but there's been so much paperwork and tidying up and everything," he said Wednesday. “Not until after this morning was the first time it’s actually hitting me, this wave of not having to worry 'bout some student's project or following up on some issue.

"I slept like a baby last night," he said. "I haven't slept like that in forever!"

Jacobson, a 1980 Coeur d'Alene High School graduate with an innate and energetic enthusiasm for computers and technology, taught at his alma mater before Lake City existed. When the staff split to provide teachers for the new school in the 1994-1995 school year, he went to Lake City to teach physics.

He was a Timberwolf right up until his retirement at the end of this school year.

“I’m going to miss all of the collaborations with the kids over the years," the game design teacher said. "They’d do a project, and my joy is getting the barriers out of the way, helping them install software that is usually restricted in a school environment, to get them the tools they need to make the game they want."

He loved seeing students light up when they had ideas for projects or had "Eureka!" moments in their work. He recalled his first game design student, Josh Haberman.

"He is a senior coder at Google now," Jacobson said. "He's in his 30s and he's retired already. He owns a music company."

Scott Jacobson advised the after-school Lake City Game Creator Club that was founded by his son, Tyler Jacobson, who was 12 at the time. Tyler ran the club when he got to Lake City and led it until he graduated in 2008.

"Throughout his career, my father has profoundly impacted countless students, inspiring and guiding them both academically and personally," he said.

Upon his retirement, some of Scott Jacobson's former students surprised him as he cleared out his classroom. A few shared with The Press fond memories of their time being Jacobson's students.

Jantzen Hunsaker said Jacobson was the first science teacher who really taught him how to be curious about the world and feel confident in his ability to learn.

"His classes were so fluid and flexible; it really let me create my own learning opportunities, and I am so grateful for his example," Hunsaker said.

Jacobson also helped him develop socially as he encouraged attendance in extracurricular classes and activities like the Lake City Game Creators, of which Hunsaker was one of the founding members.

"We had so much fun, and it really opened doors for me on how to interact and collaborate on projects and group goals," he said. "I will forever be inspired by the compassion and skill with which Scott Jacobson influenced those in his sphere of influence. Happy retirement to you, J!"

Former student Kaitlyn Finney said a teacher is someone who provides an education, but Jacobson is so much more than that.

High school can be tough to find one's place, she said, but Jacobson's room was filled with solace, respite and familiarity.

"I have made lifelong friends in that classroom, one which includes Mr. Jacobson himself," Finney said. 

"I seldom give the title of 'Favorite Teacher' but if I only had two words to describe him, that would be it," she continued. "I only hope students nowadays can find a favorite teacher like I have in Mr. Jacobson. Congratulations on your retirement, J-Man, you deserve every bit of it."

Another former student, Brandon Epler, said Jacobson demonstrated kindness and compassion that inspired students to do the same.

"He was unforgettable," Epler said. "I had the privilege of not only knowing him from school, but he also lived down the road from me growing up. No matter where you ran into him, he always showed that same genuine, caring person that actually made you feel like you were worth more than you felt. He had given advice several times to me and showed me the fun sides of being a nerd."

Jacobson taught across the hall from his brother, math teacher Ron Jacobson. He said former Lake City vice principal and athletic director Jim Winger would say to the Jacobson brothers, "You're good for the kids."

“You know what Jim, they're good for me," Scott said. “It goes beyond game design. When you take the time to show interest in their lives, just, wow."

    Scott Jacobson's earliest staff photo at Lake City High School, where he taught science and game design over the course of 30 years. He retired at the end of this school year.
    Always a fan of science, newly retired Lake City High game design teacher Scott Jacobson is seen in this May 19, 1973 Coeur d'Alene Press photo when he was the grand prize winner of the Bryan Elementary fifth grade science fair.