Long-Time Haskell Teacher Retires At 90
HASKELL, Oklahoma - If he’s not Oklahoma's longest serving teachers, he is close, but after 65 years in the classroom, the teacher everyone calls “Prof.” is ready to retire at 90 years young.
Sylvester Franklin teaches at Haskell High School, home of the Haymakers, and his room is full of things you’d accumulate if you’d been in the same classroom for the last 21 years – old nameplates, notebooks and papers.
A couple of decades are a long time to be in one place, but he actually began teaching in Haskell in 1950.
"I taught high school, before integration, over at the black school," Franklin said.
That was the old Booker T. Washington High School. Its last graduating class was in 1965 and he stayed until it closed in 1967.
Since then he's been at Haskell High School teaching middle school math, science and most recently GED.
"I just love teaching I guess, I love the kiddos," he said.
And they love him back.
On the office window, they've displayed some of the articles written about him. They named a street after him a few years back and his name is on the event center across the street.
"They ran a petition through town to name that building after me," he said.
I asked him if kids have changed much over 65 years, and his answer was about what I expected.
"Oh, Lord yes," he said.
Franklin said they speak their minds more freely now, which is not always good.
I also wanted to know if they were smarter nowadays.
"They have a chance to be, I'll put it like that," he said.
He said he's loved teaching, and learning and helping others learn.
"I'll miss the kids for sure," he said.
Franklin said after a couple of months of sitting around once the school year begins he'll probably put his name on the substitute teacher list.