When his 34-year career as a teacher at Mississippi Elementary School, Coon Rapids, came to a close with his retirement in 1999, Bob Powell opened a new chapter in life as an Anoka-Hennepin volunteer.
Powell volunteers both at Mississippi and Morris Bye elementary schools.
At Mississippi, Powell takes care of the outdoor sign and served on the committees that planned the school’s 25th and 50th anniversary celebrations.
The school historian, Powell creates posters depicting the school’s activities. The posters are displayed during celebrations.
During the holidays, Powell shares his love of trains with students by setting up a model train in the media center.
At the Coon Rapids homecoming parade, Powell can be found pulling the school’s float.
A former nature center adviser, Powell also does work on the school’s nature center.
“I also do a lot of subbing at Mississippi,” Powell said. “It’s been my second home for 47 years. It means a lot to me.”
Powell is involved at Morris Bye because his children attended school there. He has helped with carnivals and worked on the committee that planned the school’s 50th anniversary.
In addition, Powell is a member of the North Metro Regional Destination ImagiNation Tournament Committee.
Involved with the organization for about 20 years, since it was known as the “Olympics of the Mind,” Powell helps with parking for the tournament, which can draw up to 3,000 people, and has helped to set up “challenges” students participate in.
Powell likes how the program promotes creative problem solving, he said.
“It’s a good tournament for solving problems and seeing what you can do in a dramatic effort,” Powell said.
Powell’s volunteer efforts are not limited to the elementary level.
He has also been a member of the Coon Rapids Community Scholarship Association since 1990. He has served as the organization’s secretary since 1993.
Last year the group provided 174 scholarships totaling $147,000 to seniors at Coon Rapids High School. Scholarships range from $550 to $2,000.
Volunteers are important to schools because they help provide a quality education to students, Powell said.
It also provides parents an opportunity to be involved in their child’s education, he said.
“I just like the idea of helping out in the community in the school district,” Powell said.