Gettman’s Graduation

After 39 years, Dave Gettman is saying goodbye to teaching.
Dave Gettman posing for the camera.
Dave Gettman posing for the camera.
Karma Goodson

With the end of the 2023-2024 school year drawing near, so too is Dave Gettman’s final year of teaching. Gettman, one of West High’s strength and conditioning teachers, started teaching 38 years ago, soon to be 39. Spending a combined total of 20 years in White Swan and Wapato, Washington, Gettman has spent the past 19 years providing educational services to West High students; something the students of tomorrow will not get to experience. Gettman has a unique teaching method that makes his class easy to enjoy, even for students who are nervous.

Meeting each other through mutual friends, Tara Gettman shared that she met Dave Gettman 26 years ago and have been happily married ever since. Being this close to him, she is able to see different sides of Dave Gettman that nobody else gets to see.

According to Tara Gettman, Dave Gettman has had a big impact on all of the districts he has taught at. “At all three districts he grew their strength & conditioning programs to give ALL students the opportunity to experience the physical and mental benefits of weight training-especially the non-athletes,” she said. After having him as a teacher throughout my entire high school career, that is one of the biggest things that stuck out; he believes weight lifting can be a sport for students that cannot participate in others.

A Gettman family photo, provided by Tara Gettman. (Ashley Schrage)

Outside of the weight room, according to Tara Gettman, “He is a family-oriented guy who loves watching baseball (Seattle Mariners), football (Seattle Seahawks) and his children compete in sports. He is a yard fanatic who stripes his grass like a baseball field. He also stacks freestanding rocks and has multiple stacks around our house. He is a huge animal lover, and is happy spending time with our three dogs Luna, Griff and Gus.”

Whether it be his teaching, coaching or, according to Tara Gettman, making homemade dog food for their puppies, Dave Gettman has the drive to see things through and the dedication to do things right. “One year he said hi to a girl in the hall every day even though she never replied. On the last day of school she finally said hi back to him. He never gives up on students no matter how he’s treated because he believes in the good in ALL children,” said Tara Gettman.

Dave and Tara Gettman posing with their daughter, Charlotte Gettman. (Unknown)

While Tara Gettman has spent the most time with Dave Gettman, Ben Thoma, another strength and conditioning teacher, has been working with him closely for the past 12 years. “When I joined the physical education team I brought in a lot of new information, experience, techniques, and training methods. I was always grateful and impressed with his openness and desire to learn and implement everything into our strength & conditioning course curriculum. It has been a pleasure working with Dave all this time,” shared Thoma.

Reflecting on his favorite part of working with Dave Gettman, Thoma said “I enjoyed the conversations that we had. I also appreciated his ability to build relationships with students and the way he interacts with them. I admired his passion for teaching and drive to help everyone. Though I rarely laughed at any of his jokes, I did think it was very funny how funny he thought his own jokes were!”

Thoma believes that as a person, Dave Gettman is “Positive, motivating, caring, fun, goofy, immature/child-like (not in a negative sense), helpful, giving, and there for people when they need something.” He also explained that “Dave built confidence in all of his students. He consistently gave positive praise and was there to listen to his students’ needs. He worked hard to ensure students’ movement mechanics were safe and sound, teaching them a lifelong skill for health and wellness. He also had high expectations on their work ethic and demanded appropriate behavior preparing them to be productive citizens.”

“As we say goodbye to our dedicated PE teacher retiring after an impressive 39 years of service, we celebrate the impact Dave has had on generations of students. His commitment to promoting physical fitness, sportsmanship, and teamwork has shaped both minds and bodies by creating a supportive and inclusive environment where every student felt empowered to thrive. His passion for teaching extended far beyond the weight room and gymnasium, leaving a lasting mark on the hearts and minds of all who had the privilege of being coached/taught by him. We are grateful for Dave’s dedication, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts in fostering a culture of wellness and lifelong health, and we wish him a retirement filled with well-deserved relaxation and happiness,” shared Thoma.

During my high school career, I have been fortunate enough to have had Dave Gettman every year and am grateful for the things he has taught me. As a teacher, Dave Gettman has always been willing to take the time to do things properly to ensure the safety of students yet he is not afraid to mess around and joke with his students. Coming into high school very, very underweight and self conscious, a lot of people gave me a hard time about my appearance. Dave Gettman provided a judgement free area where I could feel good about myself.

Dave Gettman with two of his dogs, hanging out in his Jeep Wrangler. (Tara Gettman)

Flash forward a couple years and I am feeling confident in myself and can attribute this to his supportive teaching methods.

Dave Gettman, while his teaching services will be missed, has more than earned his retirement and is appreciated by both staff and students alike.

View Comments (1)
Donate to Wahawk Insider

Your donation will support the student journalists of Waterloo West High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Contributors
Tyler Hall
Tyler Hall, Online Editor-In-Chief
Tyler Hall is a senior at West High and this is his second year as a staff member for the Wahawk Insider and first year as a yearbook staff member. Outside of school, he can be found playing games with friends, reading a book or taking pictures of anything and everything.
Karma Goodson
Karma Goodson, Reporter
(She/her) Karma who is a second year reporter for the Wahawk insider and is a Junior at West High. Away from the classroom Karma can be seen by the water, working on her photography skills, reading, or having long social and political conversations with her friends and family.
More to Discover
Donate to Wahawk Insider

Comments (1)

All Wahawk Insider Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • T

    Tara GettmanMay 10, 2024 at 12:22 am

    Thank you, Tyler, for your time, talent and heartfelt expression in this piece. Three cheers for student journalists—coming from a former one.