This Bud is all for the kids

Anyone who went to school in Carson Valley in the past 28 years probably encountered Charles "Bud" Perkins III, or as he's more commonly known, "Mr. P."

Perkins is known for being a teacher who makes every child he encounters in the Douglas County School District part of his family.

And every member of Perkins' "family" is invited to a party June 3 to honor the man who went to their Little League games, followed their progress through the years, attended their high school graduations and was known for "Bud-isms" such as, "Better to be a thinker than a stinker."

After 30 years as a teacher, Scarselli Elementary School's Mr. P is retiring.

"He's given a lot to the community," said Scarselli teacher Debbie McNeil. "It's time to give something to Bud. He is one of the most giving people - he has the biggest heart.

"No one is more committed to kids. They're his family," McNeil said.

Mr. P started life 56 years ago. To distinguish him from his father and grandfather, who were also named Charles, Perkins got the nickname "Bud" from his family.

The Perkins family had a grocery store near San Diego in Descanso, Calif.

"Because they ran a country store, my grandfather and dad were very gregarious," said Perkins. "They had a big influence on me. I learned to ask and talk to people. It's made school a lot of fun for me. If kids need help, it's good for them to know me."

Perkins graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1975. He has spent 28 years teaching in the Valley - two at the old Minden Elementary School, eight years at Meneley Elementary School and the last 18 at Scarselli.

He spent the first two years of his teaching career at a Ruby Valley rural school in Elko County. He had nine students in his class and even then was noted for attending his students' activities.

"It's always fun for me," Perkins said. "I coached football and took down statistics at games. In Ruby Valley, it was going to brandings. You get to know the parents in a different way."

Over the years, Perkins was involved with Little League, wrestling tournaments and the fishing derby. He was on the library board, is a member of the Methodist church and was Santa Claus at Christmas.

"He's personally interested in all kids," said Jerry Van Sickle who started working with Perkins at Meneley. He calls Perkins a "stereotypically-great teacher."

"He goes to their games and becomes part of their families. He goes to their graduations and weddings. He follows their accomplishments and reads about them in the paper.

"He has a tremendous memory for kids," said Van Sickle. "He remembers the name of every kid he ever had. Most of the people around here who are younger than 40 remember Bud."

Fellow teacher Cheryl Anderson said Perkins has been teaching so long he's had many requests over the years from former students to have him as their own children's teacher.

"Although we are both veteran teachers, I am fond of reminding him that he was once my study hall teacher in high school 34 years ago," said Anderson.

Perkins brought his love of fishing into the classroom when his third-graders raised trout in October. The students had the trout from "eye-eggs" until they were sturdy enough to be moved to release in the Carson River.

"It's a good way to teach kids about the water shed," said Perkins.

Zach Davis, 8, said he learns in Perkins' class even when it's so much fun.

"He's funny and tells a lot of jokes," said Davis. "He does tricks in class."

Perkins and his wife Judy Hatch plan to spend May through October in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., and come back to Gardnerville in the winter months.

"We're going to travel by car back and forth to see the country," said Perkins. "I like to fish and hike here - the East and West Walker rivers, Hinkson Slough, Blue Lakes, Twin Lakes - I'll fish wherever. We live so close to beautiful areas. I'll return to other things I'd like to do."

In 30 years of teaching, Perkins said he's only missed a day and a half for being sick.

"One thing about teaching, I look forward to coming to school and being with kids - they make you laugh every day," he said. "I have been here because teaching is an important job to do - a responsibility."

School Superintendent John Soderman has worked with Perkins since 1980.

"He's a wonderful educator, person and friend," said Soderman. "It's a real privilege to know him at any level. He goes to the kids' games. More of us should be like Bud."

Perkins earned 1997 teacher of the year in Douglas County and runner-up in the state.

"I'm proud to teach here because this district has so many wonderful teachers who take their jobs seriously," said Perkins. "Kids in this county get as good an education as anywhere."

Perkins said a nice thing about living in a small community is that he can keep track of students when they grow up.

"The first group just celebrated their 20-year high school reunion," said Perkins. "I have kids in my class who are children of my students. My accountant is a former student and I know quite a few on the police force.

"I'm so blessed to come to a valley that fits with my personality," he said. "It's a wonderful place to teach."

Bud Perkins' retirement party is from 2-5 p.m. June 3 at Bently Science Park, 1751 Orbit Way in Minden. Everyone is welcome. Although soft drinks will be provided, guests are requested to bring appetizers, potluck dishes and desserts. For more information, call Scarselli Elementary School at 265-2222.

What: Bud Perkins' Retirement Party

When: From 2-5 p.m. June 3

Where: Bently Science Park, 1751 Orbit Way, Minden

Info: Soft drinks provided. Appetizers, potluck dishes and desserts welcomed. Scarselli Elementary School, 265-2222


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