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June 22, 2022 - 10:37pm

After 52 years, Pembroke social studies teacher ready for an easier pace in life

posted by Howard B. Owens in Pembroke Central Schools, schools, education, news, pembroke.

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A lot can change in 52 years -- monumental world events like wars, recessions, and pandemics pass by, and new inventions like mobile devices and electric cars transform lives.

But some things stay constant.  

Love, for example.

That's the case for Greg Kinal, who grew up in Elma and then accepted a job teaching social studies at Pembroke High School.

"Prior to taking the job in 1970, I had never been to Genesee County," Kinal told The Batavian on Wednesday. "I didn't know Batavia was here.  "But once I arrived in Pembroke, I fell in love with the community. I fell in love with the kids. I fell in love with the school.  It’s hard for me to come up with the idea that I’m going to be leaving.  I just love this area."

In 52 years of teaching at Pembroke, Kinal said he's taught all manner of young people -- high achievers and those who get by -- but he's found, and it's the reason he loves the kids, that they are all eager to learn.

"Sometimes you get the impression, 'oh, social studies --  groan,' but when we learn about the Vietnam War, kids bring in their grandfathers' medals, or when we talk about World War I, they talk about their family history. There is always interest in the topics we go over."

Now it's time to slow down, said the 74-year-old Kinal, who has two biological children and two stepchildren, and four grandchildren. In retirement, he still plans to be a substitute teacher, but he wants life to move at a slower pace.

"I find that I come to school on Monday and the next day, suddenly, it's Friday," Kinal said.  "I want to take it easier and not have my whole life be in a rush."

Photo illustration courtesy Pembroke Central School District.

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