Bittersweet Resignation at Helias
Dennis Hughes' history at the school will end July 31. Officials said his replacement will start work no later than Aug. 1.
Hughes said, "Helias has been a part of my family now. My first brother started in 1960, and there's nine of us children that went through Helias. And for 20 straight years there was at least one of my siblings here at Helias. I started in 1980. So, something that has been a part of your life for so long, obviously there's going to be a void."
Helias is the only Catholic school in the Columbia-Jefferson city area. More than 850 students from Jefferson City, Columbia, St. Thomas, Vienna, Linn, Taos and Henley attend classes.
After his long tenure, Hughes said he's ready to ring a new bell.
"I think the best way to say it is, I just feel it's time now," he explained.
The news shocked one Helias freshman.
"It was sad because I really like Mr. Hughes, 'cause I always see him and he's like, 'Hi,' said Mandi Gibbs. "And, I know his son, so I'll probably miss him."
A committee will conduct a national search for Hughes' replacement, but it won't be easy.
Board of Education President Tim Schluter said, "Denny has put forth numerous hours of extra work here that no one claimed, and it's a tough act to follow."
After he steps down, Hughes plans to go into real estate and help his wife's interior design business.