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Bob Anderson: A Lifelong Learner

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Bob Anderson focuses on the lesson in discrete mathematics class.

Bob Anderson focuses on the lesson in discrete mathematics class.

Bob Anderson focuses on the lesson in discrete mathematics class.


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Bob Anderson, 89, is a familiar face in the halls and classrooms of Atlantic High School. 

Anderson began taking classes at AHS in 1990, following his retirement in 1986. He has taken Chemistry, Algebra, Algebra 2, Pre-calculous, Calculous, and is currently taking Discrete Mathematics. He especially enjoys chemistry with Nancy Jenkins. “My favorite part of classes isn’t about what I’m studying, its the fact that both the teachers and other students accept me as another student,” Anderson said.

My favorite part of classes…is the fact that both the teachers and other students accept me as another student”

— Bob Anderson

 

Anderson has been attending classes at AHS for 30 years, costing him a $5 registration fee per semester. He said it was the “best $5 I have ever spent.” Anderson does not receive official grades in his classes, but does do his homework and takes tests. “I was forced into retirement at age 58 and I have seen people retire and just vegetate,” Anderson said, “and I made up my mind that I would not vegetate.”

Ally Anderson, a student in Anderson’s math class said, “He is a lot of help in class. I think it’s really cool that he still comes to classes.”

Growing up attending a one-room schoolhouse in Ottumwa, Iowa, was very different than school is now, according to Anderson. In school, they were not allowed to speak, get up from their seat, or make any noise without permission from the teacher. “Now, students don’t ask for permission. They just do it,” Anderson said.

Anderson graduated high school in 1946 and then attended Iowa State from 1948-1952. When he attended college, the cost was $138 for one year of tuition at Iowa State, where you could take as many or as few classes as you wanted. Anderson then joined the Navy where he tended to the operation and repair of radio and radar. “It is impossible for people to realize the patriotism we had in those days,” the World War II veteran said.

Following Anderson’s Navy days, he used his degree in animal science to work making synthetic milk for piglets. Anderson then worked at a feed company called Walnut Grove where he was a nutritionist.

On June 22, 1952, Anderson married his neighbor girl, Mary, and moved to Atlantic in October. Together they have three children: Tom, 65; Susan, 60; and Jane, 55. “We had a child every five years,” Anderson said with a chuckle. He has four grandchildren living in Wisconsin.

When Anderson is not at school, he enjoys gardening. He grows primarily tomatoes, muskmelon, cucumbers, and onions. Anderson also tutors high school and Iowa Western students. “As you get to my age you don’t do things as fast or thoroughly as you used to, so tutoring takes up most of my time,” he said.

“I enjoy life and enjoy being here as a student,” Anderson said.

ENJOYING CLASS – Bob Anderson laughs while talking with his fellow students.

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Bob Anderson: A Lifelong Learner