True pro


Growth biggest change during Noblesville High School teacher Hipes’ long tenure

By Mark Ambrogi

Gary Hipes doesn’t have any problem putting his finger on the biggest change he saw during his 45 years as a Noblesville High School teacher.

“When I graduated from Elwood High School, we had a little over 200 students,” said Hipes, who retired when the school year ended this month. “And Noblesville when I started was almost the same size.”

NHS had an enrollment of 2,637 in the 2014-15 school year, compared to 418 for Elwood.

“So the two communities have gone in opposite directions,” Hipes said.

Hipes, 66, and his family lived in Noblesville until three-and-a-half years ago when he moved to a house on his father’s farm, just down the road from his parents’ house, which is halfway between Elwood and Marion. His father will turn 97 in August and his mother 93 in September.

“They doing well but they need some assistance,” he said. “He had cancer so I’ve been taking him for radiation and chemotherapy. It got to the point that it’s taken more time.”

Hipes started out teaching biology and physical science and has primarily taught biology through the years. He was the junior class sponsor for his first 10 years at NHS. He then spent about 10 years as an active member, including a term as president with the Noblesville Teachers Forum, later becoming a department chair for about 15 years. Hipes started with as sponsor of the Quiz Bowl team in the mid-1980s and continued that until this year.

In addition to biology, Hipes taught anatomy, physiology, AP environmental science and computer programming.

“The project engineering and dual-credit courses have been a tremendous change in the last few years,” Hipes said. “That along with the change with various technologies.”

NHS principal Jeff Bryant praised Hipes’ dedication to the students.

“He has spent countless hours as a teacher, coach, sponsor and volunteer with students and staff,” Bryant said. “I’ve told people often over the last few weeks when talking about Gary that he embodies the idea of a professional. He stands for and with his students on their journey through NHS.”

Needless to say, Bryant said that dedication and institutional knowledge will be missed.

“It isn’t easy to replace 45 years of experience, wisdom, knowledge and passion,” he said. “He joked about his use of ‘we’ while in the process of cleaning out his room and turning in his school stuff. I hope he always refers to NHS as a part of his life. He’ll always be a part of ours.”

Hipes said the community is fortunate to have one of the higher rates in the state of students advancing on to college.

“Kids are kids,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve changed a huge amount over the years. It’s fun to see them grow, develop and mature. When I had freshmen and juniors and seniors at the same time, it was fun to see how they would mature over that period of the time because I would have the same kids.

“Teaching is like a project. You have this year with a group of students and then you have the next year to do it better.”

Hipes never wanted to go anywhere else.

“I was very satisfied with the situation here with the courses and students I had,” Hipes said. “It’s been a great place to work. The faculty has been great to work with. I never saw anything that motivated me to go looking elsewhere. There were opportunities here to grow and develop professionally. I just keep trucking. You keep doing it, and all at once it’s 45 years later.”

About Gary Hipes

Age: Turns 67 on Nov. 14.

Education: Graduated from Elwood High School in 1966 and Taylor University in 1970. Earned master’s degree from Ball State in 1974.

Personal: Owns Gary Hipes Painting Co., an exterior and interior painting business. Raises 40 head of Black Angus cattle. He and his wife, Brenda, married Aug. 7, 1970, two weeks before he began his career at NHS. Together they have two children David Hipes, a 1990 NHS graduate and Kristyn Parker, a 1993 NHS graduate, and four grandchildren.

Hobbies: Golf, gardening

Favorite musicians: The Eagles as a band and James Taylor as an individual singer

Favorite reading: “I read science journals and articles and stories about politics.”

Future vacation plans: “I would like to go east and would like to take a cruise to Alaska at some point.”

Favorite sport to watch: “I watch more football than anything else. I follow the Colts pretty closely. I’ve been a fan of IU basketball for a long time.”