Loftin  Setzer    Goble    Johnson





(1978 - 20??)


(1953 - 20??)


(1918 - 1979)


(1876 - 1937)

William Alexander

(1851 - 1939)


(1827 - 1864)


(1798 - 185?)


(1768 - 1836)


(1740 - 1793)

Loftin III

(1714 - 1785)

Loftin II

(1675 - 1735)

Loftin I

(1648 - 1735)


(1610 - 1678)



History of
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& High School









(Before 1600)



































































































































30 Years of Teaching



Curtis: The Teaching Years (1975 - 2005)

Carolyn and I (Curtis Loftin), both, found jobs for the summer after college and our wedding as we looked for teaching jobs for the new school year (1975 - 1976).  Carolyn worked at the Harris Teeter Gas Station in Newton (that no longer exists) and I was re-hired by Reeves Curron in Conover to work in the receiving department.  Reeves cut foam-rubber into cushions that were used by local furniture factories for chairs and sofas.  My job was to unload the foam from the trucks when they came in, and to move the foam to the storage area.  During my down time, I moved foam to the different cutting stations, too.  This was my third summer to work at Reeves Curron and they must have liked me because they talked to me about moving into a leadership position - but I had my heart set on teaching.
I applied for teaching positions in Catawba County, Iredell County, Statesville City, Newton-Conover City and Lenoir City Schools.  After several interviews, my first choice was Statesville City Schools, 2nd choice was Lenoir City Schools (we loved the NC mountains) and 3rd choice was Catawba County Schools. 

I. Sherrills Ford Elementary (1975 - 1976)


Photo Taken November 2006


The Old School Building



As the months, weeks and days passed, I eventually got a phone call from James P. Rines, the Principal at Sherrills Ford Elementary School.  He told me that he had a job for me and when I asked him what it was for he told me that it was "leading a group of children on a trek up the Andes Mountains".  I sat there in Mom & Dad's house, with the phone in my hands, kind of stunned - not really knowing what to say.  He suddenly broke out into a jolly laughing spell.  Mr. Rines, who was also a minister, was a bit of a jester. I found that out early - but I liked him.  My cousin Norma Cook Stewart (Daughter of Alvin & Frances Loftin Cook) also taught at Sherrills Ford. 
My job that first year was to teach 6th, 7th and 8th grade Math & Science - as well as Health & Physical Education.   I was trilled to get the job offer, but disappointed that I didn't get a job offer from Statesville or Lenoir City School.  The next week I got phone calls from both Statesville and Lenoir City Schools with job offers, but unfortunately I had already signed my contract with Catawba County.  As the years passed, I looked back on the event and realized that the LORD had me just where I needed to be - with Catawba County Schools and living next door to Mom & Dad.  Dad died 4 years later in 1979 and as Mom continued to age, I was thankful to be living next door to her.
Carolyn's college teaching degree was in Spanish, where mine included everything in grades 4 through 8. With the turn over of 4th grade to 8th grade teachers, it was easier for me to get a teaching position, than it was for Carolyn.  At the time, only a few high schools in the county even taught Spanish.  Fred T. Foard High School already had a full-time Spanish teacher but the Spanish enrollment had increased - as had the number of students wanting to take Art.  They were looking for a teacher who could teach Spanish for a half-day and Art for the second half.  When they couldn't find a single teacher to fill that job, they hired two part-time teachers and Carolyn taught Spanish.

Curtis: 1975-76 Sherrills Ford Elementary School photo
Carolyn: 1975-76 Fred T. Foard High School photo



Additional School photos of Curtis & Carolyn from their 1975 - 1976 school years


My first year of teaching was really very difficult. I had 10 different daily preparations and I struggled with so many different classes and levels. I also struggled to learn how to maintain discipline in the classroom. Some things simply come with experience and I would have to patient and let my experience grow.

II. Catawba Middle School (1976 - 2000)



When the school was originally constructed in 1942 it was called Catawba Rosenwald School and was a segregated school for African American Students in the Catawba Area while the "white" school was located about a quarter mile away.  In 1965 the school was enlarged and a two story building was constructed for additional classes and new offices.  When Catawba County Schools became integrated Catawba Rosenwald became Catawba Primary School and was used for K - 3rd Grades.  A few years later and it became Catawba Elementary School for K - 8th Grades.  In 1976 it became Catawba Middle School for 7th and 8th Grade students living in the Catawba and Sherrills Ford areas. 


Catawba Middle School as seen from the main road


The Cafeteria (left) and 7th Grade Building (right) as seen from the bus parking lot


The 8th Grade  Building (left) and Cafeteria (right) as seen from the bus parking lot


The 7th Grade Building - also known as the 1942 Building


The 8th Grade Building as seen from the faculty parking lot


The Chorus Room (left), 7th Grade Building (center) and Band Room Building (right)
as seen from the faculty parking lot


The Gym

1999 - 2000 was the last year the facility was used for Catawba Middle School.  The facility eventually became the Catawba Rosenwald Education Center in honor of the school's original name.

1976 - 1977
2nd Year Teaching

As the 1976 - 1977 school year began, there were a few changes in the school setting of Catawba County School as Middle Schools were introduced to the system.  Sherrills Ford Elementary had been a K-8 school (Grades Kindergarten to 8th Grade) in 1975 - 1976, but for the new year it would only be a K-6 school.  Part of the seventh and eighth grade students from Sherrills Ford would be going to the brand new Tuttle Middle School while the other seventh and eighth graders would go to Catawba Middle School.  The 7th and 8th grade teachers accompanied their students to one of the two schools.  I was initially supposed to go to Tuttle, but when the school system realized they had more students going to Catawba (CMS) then they originally though, they asked for a volunteer teacher to go there also.  I volunteered simply because the school was only a three-minute-drive.  I was at CMS for twenty-three years.
The year before, when I was at Sherrills Ford Elementary, I taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade students - while at Catawba I only taught 8th graders.  At Sherrills Ford I had ten daily preparation (6th grade Math, two levels - 7th grade Math, two levels - 8th grade Math, two levels - 7th & 8th grade Science - Health - and Physical Education) - at Catawba I only had "one" daily preparation (8th grade Math, one level). 
Each day I taught four 8th grade Math classes and two Mini-Courses.  Mini-Courses were only 6 weeks long and students on each team were able to choose the Mini-Course they wanted to take.  There was no Foreign Language in the Elementary or Middle School setting at the time, so I decided to teach basic Spanish during my two Mini-Courses.
My classroom was located in the downstairs part of the 1965 Building.
One of the interesting things about this year was the fact that some of the 7th graders I taught at Sherrills Ford became my 8th grade students.

Frank L. Pendergrass was the Principal at Catawba Middle School and Joyce Westbrook was Assistant Principal


Mary Caroline Spencer was the school Secretary


1976-1977 Catawba Middle School Faculty


Wearing my vest, scarf and sombrero that Carolyn brought back from her summer 1976 Mexico trip,
I'm dressed for teaching Spanish in one of my Mini-Courses

NOTABLE STUDENT: During my first year at CMS, I had the opportunity to teach Timmy Loftin.  Timmy was the son of Gary Loftin, grandson of Glenn Lee Loftin, great grandson of Arthur Lee Loftin, and great great grandson of William Alexander Loftin. Timmy's dad, Gary, and I were 2nd cousins.

1977 - 1978
3rd Year Teaching

As the 1977 - 1978 year began, I realized that I would be teaching some of the same students that I had taught in 6th grade at Sherrills Ford Elementary two years before - including Philip Brown, Renee Eller and Teri Howard.
Much of the faculty remained the same as the previous year, but new faces on the faculty included Libby Detter, Richard "Dickie" Feimster, Emma Jean Gilbert, Janet Isenhour, Anita Morris, Joe Rankin and Kerry StokerDonna Edwards joined the staff as a Teacher Assistant and Chris Eckard replaced Katherine Frey at the school Librarian.
In addition to teaching my 8th grade Math classes and Mini-Courses, our Principal, Frank Pendergrass (in an effort to bring up overall Reading scores for the school), decided that every teacher in the school should teach Reading for 30 minutes at the same time each day.
Once of my favorite children's literature books during college was "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C. S. Lewis. My students and I read this book together during this daily reading time. Afterwards we decided to do a visual presentation complete with slides and a cassette tape from an original play that the students wrote.


To see more photos from our presentation, CLICK HERE


NOTABLE STUDENT: During the 1977-1978 school year, I taught David Flynn.  David was the son of "Sis" Goble Flynn, the grandson of James "Leggs" Goble and the great grandson of Martin Luther Goble. David's mother and I were 1st cousins.

Curtis & his daughter Beth during the 1977 school year


1978 - 1979
4th Year Teaching

My 4th year of teaching was wonderful.  I continued to teach 8th grade and I had wonderful students.  It seemed that I had finally managed to reach a good balance with maintaining discipline while keeping a happy classroom.
In addition to teaching my 8th grade Math classes and Mini-Courses, our Principal, Frank Pendergrass decided that all of the teachers would continue to teach Reading for 30 minutes at the same time each day.
In the Spring of 1979, the students in my Reading Class read "D.J.'s Worst Enemy", by Robert Burch. Mr. Burch had been one of my favorite authors ever since I met him at Appalachian State University in my Children's Literature Class in 1974. After reading the book, my students and I decided to do a visual presentation with photos, a play, and an audio tape to go along with the photos/slides.
Local minister, Paul Hart, from Shiloh Methodist Church, took the photos for our reading project. Paul's wife, Joyce, was a reading specialist who worked at Catawba Middle School several days a week.


Pa Madison (Curtis) shows D.J. and his friends the beautiful melons he has acquired

(Left to Right) Lonnie Evans, Curtis Loftin, Layman Mitchell, David Hester, Mack Byers, and Angile Roth


To see all the photos from the Reading Project, CLICK HERE


The Madison family takes their corn to the mill to be ground into meal

(Left to Right) Dayne Miller, Tera McDaniel, Patty Mauney, Tim Miller and Curtis Loftin

NOTABLE STUDENT: Jerry Huffman was one of the students I had this particular year.  He was hard working and always very courteous and polite - a real joy to teach.  As the year moved toward it's conclusion, my family made plans for the annual Loftin Family Reunion.  Dad, Mom, Carolyn & I, with our kids, my brother Bill and his family, as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, met at the Balls Creek Campground for the reunion.  As I was moving around the large 100+ crowd and tables of food, I noticed that Jerry Huffman was at the reunion, too.  I asked him what he was doing there and he said, "My Grandmother was a Loftin".  With a little more information and a little help from my Dad, Sam Loftin, I came to realize that Jerry's Grandmother was Callie Elma Loftin Huffman - Dad's sister.  His Great Grandfather was Alonzo Lester Loftin.  If Jerry knew that we were related during the school year, he never said anything to me about it.  BUT, as that last month of school wound down, I did tease him just a little as I'd say things like, "How are you today Cousin Jerry".  He usually looked mortified when I did it - causing me to smile a little and do the same thing again the next day.  Jerry's dad, James "Jimmy" Henry Huffman, was my 1st cousin.

Jerry Huffman makes the NEWS

1976-1977                                        1977-1978                                        1978-1979


1979 - 1980
5th Year Teaching

As the 1979 - 1980 school year began, our principal, Frank Pendergrass, asked me to move to 7th grade - which I did.  The other 7th grade teachers on our team that year were Robert "Bob" Bangle, Miriam Champion, Janet Isenhower, Kerry Stoker and Betty Thornburg.  All of our classes were in the 1942 seventh grade building.
I still taught my Mini-Courses but my core classes were all Math except for one Social Studies class.  Bob Bangle had all Social Studies classes except for one Math class. Bob said it made no since for us to teach that one class so he suggested that we swap that Math and Social Studies class with each other to avoid the extra preparation.  I asked Bob, "Can we do that?"  He said, "We can, especially if we don't say anything to the office or registration" - so we never did.  I taught his Math class and he taught my Social Studies class.  When it was time to turn in grades (long before the day of computer grading), I filled out the Math grades and he filled out the Social Studies grades.  No one ever became the wiser.
I wasn't originally happy to move to 7th grade, but I did develop a good friendship with new teacher Miriam ChampionMiriam taught Language Arts and was in the class room next door to mine.
With the birth of our two children (Beth in 1976 and Philip in 1978), Carolyn & I decided it would be just as practical for her to stay at home and keep the kids.  We also decided that it would help our finances if she could keep a few other children, also.  She ended up keeping the children of some of the teachers that I worked with, incoluing Dee Blanton's son (Andy), Mariam Champion's son (Scott) and eventually Debbie Craig's two children (Jennifer and Christopher) - as well as several other children.
I worked hard during my class room time but I also had some really good times picking with the other teachers during our off time.  On one particular afternoon after the students had all gone home and fellow 7th grade teacher Kerry Stoker went to the Gym for ball practice, Miriam decided that she and I should rearrange the student desks in Kerry's classroom.  We took all of his student desks and his teacher desk that were facing the front of the room and turned them all 90 degrees so that they'd be facing the side wall.  She and I had a good laugh when we finished - with no intentions of revealing to Kerry just who the culprits were that turned his desks around.  The next morning when he came in, he was a little surprised, but I don't remember him making a bid deal out of it.  He did, however, find out that Miriam and I were the culprits who had done the deed.  When I came into my classroom the morning after that, I didn't notice anything different in my classroom - at first.  But when I went to pick up the stapler off of my desk, I realized that it had been glued down with Elmer's Glue - as were many other items on my desk.  Miriam and I couldn't help but notice the small grin and look of satisfaction on Kerry's face that day.
On another afternoon after the students had left, I don't really remember why, Miriam was chasing a few of the teachers down the hall with a spray-bottle of water.  When Assistant Principal Joyce Westbrook came out to see what was going on, it didn't take long before Miriam was also chasing Joyce. It was funny seeing Joyce try to avoid the misty waters from the Miriam's spray bottle.
During the coarse of the year, Catawba Middle School received a new female foreign student from Germany who could speak no English - and yes, she was placed in my Math class.  I told Administration that I couldn't speak German and asked how I was supposed to teach her.  They told me just to do the best that I could.  Fortunately for me, math principles are the same regardless of which country you live in, so after I finished with teaching a Math lesson, I'd go over to her and demonstrate how to do a few of the homework problems and watch her work a few on her own. She was a good student and always caught on quickly.

Papier-Mâché Winnie The Pooh characters from one of our Mini-Courses


1979-1980 Catawba Middle School Faculty

One of the challenges of the 1979 - 1980 school year was the death of my father, Sam William Loftin.  I was at school on the morning of 18 Sep 1979 when I was asked to go to Assistant Principal Joyce Westbrook's office.  She was the one who told me that Dad had passed away earlier that morning.  Even though Dad had been sick for years, it was still a surprise to hear that he had died.  Joyce asked if I'd be OK and told me to go on home - that they would get someone to cover my classes.
With Dad's death, suddenly my mother, Willie, was in need of work.  I knew that the school needed another custodian so I approached Mom and asked her if she thought she'd be interested.  She was 53 years old and had been boarding socks ever since she was 15, but she and I both agreed that custodial work would be easier than working in a hosiery mill.  She went to see Mr. Pendergass and he hired her on the spot.  When she asked him what she was suppose to do, he told her, "clean it (the school) like you would your own house" -- and she did.  She was the best custodian we ever had at Catawba and she worked at Catawba Middle School for nine years before she retired.

Carolyn with Beth and Curtis with Philip - January 1980



1980 - 1981
6th Year Teaching

My 5th year at Catawba (1980-1981) was my sixth year of teaching. Once again I taught 7th grade and the teachers on my team that year were Bob Bangle (Social Studies), Miriam Champion (Language Arts) and Janet Isenhower (Science), while I taught Math.

1980-1981 Catawba Middle School - Team I Teachers (7th Grade)


(Left) Curtis teaching Sign Language in one of his Mini-Courses (Right) Miriam & Curtis in the school cafeteria



(Left) Officer David Arndt was a friend of Curtis' - a friendship that was formed after meeting at an Eastern Catawba County Youth Rally in the summer of 1972 - then spending time together playing tennis
(Middle) Miriam Champion and Betty Thornburg; (Right) Miriam and Curtis in her classroom



Willie during her second year at Catawba Middle School

NOTABLE STUDENT: During the 1980-1981 school year I taught Sheila Mundy.  Sheila was an excellent student and was the granddaughter of Lois Loftin Mundy, the great granddaughter of Arthur Lee Loftin, and the great great granddaughter of William Alexander Loftin
As the 1980-1981 school year came to a close, I requested to move back to 8th grade for the next school year.  I was pleased when Mr. Pendergrass agreed to my request.

1981 - 1982
7th Year Teaching

As the 1981-1982 school year began, I was back in the 8th grade in the same classroom (downstairs in the 1965 building) that I had had from 1976 to 1979.  For this particular year I had a combination of 7th and 8th grade Math classes.

(Left) 1981-1982 School Photo; (Right) Classroom photo


NOTABLE STUDENT: During the course of the school year I taught Paul Setzer (twin brother of Patrick Setzer) and John Harwell.  All three of these boys fall into the Setzer Family Descendancy and would have been my cousins - but I did not know it at the time.
NOTABLE STUDENT: John Loftin was another student I taught that year. He was in one of my 7th grade classes.  John was the brother of Timmy Loftin, son of Gary Loftin, grandson of Glenn Lee Loftin, great grandson of Arthur Lee Loftin, and great great grandson of William Alexander Loftin.

1982 - 1983
8th Year Teaching

During the first semester of the 1982-1983 school year, James P. Rines, former principal of Charles Tuttle Middle School (and Sherrills Ford Elementary School), served at Catawba Middle School Principal.  Mr. Rines was the Principal who hired me and I really enjoyed working with him again. 
When Mr. Rhines came to CMS, he asked me to teach drama one period each day - which I did. One of the teachers thought that it was just a study hall for me, so I was quick to invite her and her classroom to our first drama presentation - just to prove I was actually teaching the class.
Joyce Westbrook, Assistant Principal for the past six and a half years, became Interim Principal for the second half of the year when Mr. Rines retired.

Mr. James P. Rines: Principal


Part of the 1982-1983 Catawba Middle School Faculty & Staff

* Robert "Bob" Kelly married the daughter (Becky Deal) of my 1st Cousin (Brenda Isenhour Deal Schronce)
* My Mom, Willie, is back for another year at CMS
* Priscilla was always one of my favorite teachers to work with
* I taught with Ann Spencer McCrary for 29 years - she was a great friend, too

A Math Department meeting in Cliff Dietrich's room - Cliff with Curtis Loftin


1983 - 1984
9th Year Teaching

My ninth year of teaching, 1983-1984, saw me once again at Catawba Middle School.

As the 1983-1984 school year began, we welcomed a new Principal, David Singleton.  Mr. Singleton, former principal of Maiden High School, was a graduate of Wake Forest College and the University of North Carolina.  He had many years' experience as a teacher and principal.

Most of the CMS Faculty felt that Mr. Singleton, like Mr. Rines, had been moved to Catawba with the hopes of forcing him to retire.

Mr. Singleton was a wonderful Principal and seemed to really like both Mom and me.
In October 1983, Students and Teachers were excited to welcome Shakespearian & TV Actress, Mary Krause, to Catawba Middle School.

During October 1983 Shakespearian & TV Actress Mary Krause visits Catawba Middle School

Mary Krause quoted lines from various plays by William Shakespeare and all the students were really attentive - especially after quoting a scene from "Romeo & Juliet" when she pulled up an 8th grade student and kissed him smack-dab on the mouth.  Without another moments notice she quoted a few more lines from Shakespeare and finally said, "Who, Who will I kiss?  The Man with the beard".  Oh, yes!  My life flashed before my eyes!  In the few seconds I had before she came to where I was sitting, I did a LOT of thinking.  The way I saw it, I had two choices: (1) I could either get up and run out of the gym, or (2) I could act really "COOL" and just play along.  Well, as you can see from the photo below, I decided on option number 2.  And can you tell me how the yearbook staff just happened to have a camera ready for the photo?  You should have seen the men teachers disappear out of the gym as she proceeded with additional lines from Shakespeare.

Actress Mary Krause kisses Curtis during a school assembly

And just in case you're wondering, what did I do when I got home that evening?  I told Carolyn what had happened that day at the assembly - and thankfully she trusted me and didn't get upset! Carolyn & I knew the LORD has put us together. With a story like that, how could anyone else ever compare.

School Portraits 1983-1984: Curtis and Willie


NOTABLE STUDENT: I taught Michael Martin in my homeroom during the 1983-1984 school year but I didn't know we were related.  It turns out that his Grandmother Marie Loftin Robinson was my Dad's 1st Cousin. His mother was Dot Robinson Martin was my second cousin. Michael was my 2nd cousin once removed.

1984 - 1985
10th Year Teaching

1984-1985 was my tenth year of teaching and my ninth year at Catawba Middle School.  Mr. David Singleton was back as Principal for his second year but due to illness eventually had to retire.



School Portraits 1984-1985: Curtis and Willie


Each year at Christmas, the school sponsored a door decorating contest.  I won so many years that some of the teachers began to complain. What can I say? I was a math teacher who also liked art.

My winning 1984-1985 Christmas Door

NOTABLE STUDENT: During the 1984-1985 school year I taught Crystal Flynn.  Crystal was the daughter of "Sis" Goble Flynn, the granddaughter of James "Leggs" Goble and the great granddaughter of Martin Luther Goble. She was the sister of David Flynn that I taught during the 1977-1978 school year.
NOTABLE STUDENT: One of my favorite students during the 1984-1985 school year was Eddie Sines.  Eddie was hard working and courteous and chose to eat lunch at my table in the cafeteria every day during the school year.  Years later I was disappointed to hear that Eddie was killed in a car accident while he was a student at Bandys High School.  Like Rhonda Little, Johnny Knight and so many others before him, Eddie died way too young, but he will long be remembered fondly.

8th Grade Student Eddie Sines


1985 - 1986
11th Year Teaching

After serving as Assistant Principal for nine years at Catawba Middle School, Joyce Westbrook finally became Principal during the 1985-1986 school year.  Mr. Jim Gregory became the new Assistant Principal.  Jim was a graduate of Lenoir Rhyne College and Appalachian State University.  He had served as Assistant Principal at H.M. Arndt Middle School and Balls Creek Elementary School before coming to Catawba.

Joyce Westbrook, Principal, and Jim Gregory, Assistant Principal



Curtis helping a student with a math problem in his classroom


Math Bulletin Board:  Great Mathematician, Archimedes


Math Bulletin Board:  Great Mathematician, Hypatia of Alexandria


School Portraits 1985-1986: Curtis and Willie


1986 - 1987
12th Year Teaching

Mrs. Dee Petty served as Principal at Catawba Middle School for the 1986-1987 school year.  She was a respected instructor and administrator who had previously served as Assistant Principal at Maiden High School.  Mrs. Petty earned her B.S. Degree, M.A. Degree and an Educational Specialist Degree from Appalachian State University and was working toward her Doctoral Degree while she was at Catawba.
Jim Gregory continued to serve as Assistant Principal.

Mrs. Dee Petty


Curtis in front of one of his Math Bulletin Boards in his classroom
"Fractions are Out Of This World"

Creating attractive Bulletin Boards was always one of my strengths as a teacher.  During one of the years when we were still teaching Mini-Courses, I taught "Bulletin Boards" and the students in my class worked on creating bulletin boards for me and other teachers as well.








An assembly in the Gym

Teachers sitting in the Center Row
Willie Loftin, Ray Clawson, Cliff Dietrich Bob Bangle, Curtis Loftin & Joe Rankin


School Portraits 1986-1987: Curtis, Willie and Priscilla Matthews


1987 - 1988
13th Year Teaching

Dee Petty and Jim Gregory returned as Principal and Assistant Principal at Catawba Middle School for the 1987-1988 school year.
Even though I continued to teach 8th grade Math during the 1987-1988 school year, I did not have a homeroom.  As a trade off, I did bus duty on a daily basis, and did not have to do report cards or cumulative records.  I was also asked to give up one of my daily Math classes so that I could "keep" In-School Suspension (ISS) for one period each day.  The thought behind me being in ISS was that I'd be there to answer math questions students might have while they were away from their regular classroom.

Mrs. Dee Petty and Mr. Jim Gregory

As the 1987-1988 school year began, I lent my creative talents to the CMS Yearbook - working with Bridgett Purdy.

Yearbook Advisors Curtis Loftin & Bridgette Purdy


(Left) Comparing notes; (Right) Curtis with part of the 1987-1988 Yearbook Staff


Curtis in his classroom; 1987-1988 CMS Portrait



Because of my numerous Star Trek themed Bulletin Boards this year, the kids quickly learned that I was a Trekkie




As new schools were being built in Catawba County, it seemed that we were having difficulty getting the Central Office approve some of the repairs we needed at CMS.  Superintendant, Dr. Emmet Floyd, had made the comment that doing repairs at Catawba Middle School was like "throwing money down a rat hole".  Mrs. Petty and some of the other teachers had seen some of the bread-dough Christmas ornaments that Carolyn & I had made and when she saw the mice she decided that we needed to create a Christmas Tree with bread-dough mice ornaments for Dr. Floyd.  Other teachers were asked to cover my classes for a day while I taught teachers (during their planning period) how to create the festive ornaments.  Each teacher then signed their name on their particular mouse/rat.  Dr. Floyd was invited down to the school just before Christmas and we presented him with his special Christmas Tree.  He was very good natured about it and actually seemed to appreciate the gift.  After that, it seemed the Central Office was more forthcoming when we requested repairs at the school.

(Left) Ralph Cochran & Willie Loftin; (Right) Dr. Emmett Floyd



Willie would occasionally stop by Curtis' classroom during his planning period



Mom (Willie Loftin) retired after serving as Custodian at CMS for nine years
and is presented with a copy of the yearbook


I really enjoyed the nine years that Mom (Willie) worked at Catawba Middle School and even though I was happy to see her finally reach retirement age, I knew I'd miss seeing her around the school on a daily basis.  But she didn't stay at home too long.  Shortly after she retired as Custodian at CMS, she went into the K-Mart store in Conover and saw an older person serving as a door greeter.  She told her granddaughter Chrystal Loftin, who was working there at the time, that she'd like to do that job.  Before long Willie started working part-time as door greeter at K-Mart.  Her responsibilities, in addition to greeting customers when they entered the store, was to keep shopping carts organized and watching to be sure customers didn't try to "slip" out of the store with merchandise that they hadn't paid for.

1988 - 1989
14th Year Teaching


Dee Petty and Jim Gregory returned as Principal and Assistant Principal for the 1988-1989 school year at CMS.  After three years at CMS. Mrs. Petty was proud of the "Special Spirit" that had been created under her caring and professional leadership. 


Part of the Faculty photos from the 1988-1989 Yearbook

Kelly Johnson (Computers), Lynda Lewis (Language Arts), Curtis Loftin (Math), Priscilla Matthews (Social Studies)

(The interesting thing about these yearbook photos is the fact that Kelly, Priscilla and I used the same photos for next year's yearbook,  too.  Lynda Lewis did not return in the year 1989-1990)
For the second year in a row, I did not have a homeroom and I also continued to work as Co-Advisor with the CMS Yearbook.

Yearbook Advisors Bridgette Purdy and Curtis Loftin



Additional Photos of Curtis & Bridgette


The 1988-1989 Yearbook Staff

(Top Row) Todd Whittaker, Michael LeFevers, Bud Bolliger, Chad Mauney
(Middle Row) Trudy Stewart, Leslie Sigmon, Michael Setzer, Shawn Brown, Amy Freeze
(Bottom Row) Lajohnna Brandon, Ashley Carpenter, Kari Whisnant


Curtis in his classroom - wearing a CMS Yearbook Staff T-Shirt



1989-1990 School Portrait

NOTABLE STUDENT: Michael Setzer falls into my Setzer Family Descendancy, making us cousins, but I didn't know it at the time.

1989 - 1990
15th Year Teaching

The 1989-1990 school year was the half-way mark for my 30 year teaching career. Catawba Middle School gained a new Principal, Mr. John Stiver.  Mr. Stiver was originally from Claremont, NC, and was a Bunker Hill High School graduate. 

(Left) Mr. John Stiver
(Right) John Stiver, Assistant Principal Jim Gregory and Yearbook Advisor Bridgette Purdy)



Math Department

Debbie Bandy, Diane Buff, Cheryl Liverman, Curtis Loftin, Ann McCrary, Debbie Craig & Cliff Dietrich

Diane, Ann and I were very close from working so closely together for so many years.

1990-1991 School Portrait


1990 - 1991
16th Year Teaching

John Stiver returned to CMS for his second year as Principal during the 1990-1991 school year. Jim Gregory returned at Assistant Principal and this was my 16th year of teaching.
The most significant thing that happened to me this year was that I was teamed with Sandy Baucom and Bob Bangle.  I taught Math, Sandy taught Language Arts, and Bob taught Social Studies and Science.  Sandy and I continued to team teach with one another for 15 years - until I retired in 2005.  I served as Team Leader for the rest of our years at Catawba Middle and four my last 6 years at River Bend Middle School.
One of the special joys for me during the 1990-1991 school year was to have my son, Philip, with me at the middle school. I didn't teach Philip, but he was with me every afternoon at the end of the school day.
Both of my children, Beth & Philip, had spent five years in a private Christian School from 1984 to 1989.  When Carolyn and I decided to leave New Horizon Christian Fellowship, she also quit her job as teacher at the Christian school there.  The curriculum at the Christian School was ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) where the children worked individually at their own level and at their own speed.  They worked in booklets called Paces and at the end of each Pace, they would take a test.  Carolyn had set a minimum requirement of 80% on all tests, meaning that if the students made less than 80 on a test, they had to re-do all of the work and eventually re-test.  During the five years that Beth and Philip were at the Christian School, they both gained a year - meaning that they had completed an extra year's worth of work. 
When our family left New Horizon, we decided to pull the kids out of Christian School and put them back into public school.  Since Beth had already completed all of her Freshman high school classes, she skipped a grade and entered at the 10th grade level - meaning she was a year younger than all of the other students in her class.  The students that she had started Kindergarten with were all in the 9th grade.  She was a 14-year-old Sophomore at Bandys High School. Even though Philip had gained a year, too, we decided to keep him with his chronological age group since boys mature slower than girls at that age. He entered Catawba Middle School as a 7th grader in the Fall of 1989.

Philip sitting with the 7th graders in the gym on the first day of school at CMS
- waiting to be told who his homeroom teacher would be


Philip's 7th Grade Band Class

Philip is on the left side of the front row with the other flute players

Philip didn't have a preference for a band instrument.  Since we had a flute at home,
it was decided that he'd play the flute and thus save the family the cost of buying a new instrument

I continued to work with the CMS Yearbook for the 1990-1991 school year, and encouraged Philip to apply to become part of the yearbook staff, too.

The 1990-1991 CMS Yearbook Staff

(Philip is standing on the left end of the second row from the top - neighbor Jamie Sweet is in the middle of the same row)


(Left) Philip poses for a photo in my classroom at the end of a school day
(Right) The new 7th Graders who compose half of the Yearbook Staff


Yearbook Advisors, Sandy Baucom, Curtis Loftin and Bridgette Purdy

Field Day at the end of the school year was always a highlight for students and teachers.  Teacher served as judges for events and occasionally got involved in them, too.

Student vs. Faculty Tug-of-War

(Left to Right) Randy Burroughs, Angie Rudisill, Jerome Morris, Sub Teacher, Cheryl Liverman, Sue Smith,
 Sandy Baucom, Robbie Abernathy, Bob Bangle, Curtis Loftin and Darlene Whitaker


1990-1991 School Portraits

 Curtis at Catawba, Philip in the 7th Grade at Catawba, Beth in the 10th Grade at Bandys High School


1991 - 1992
17th Year Teaching

As I started the 1991-1992 school year at Catawba Middle Schoolm I was beginning my 17th year of teaching.  Even though I never taught Philip while he was at Catawba, he spent time with me after school in my classroom each day.  I was pleased to have him with me at CMS for another year.

(Left) Ann McCrary and Curtis Loftin keep students informed about the upcoming Math Logo Contest
(Right) Philip helps one of our Substitute Teachers with information about the Fund Raiser



Philip's 8th Grade Band Class

Philip holding his flute in the front center-left side of the band photo

Philip played flute for his two years at Catawba Middle.  When he went to Bandys High School he switched to the Tuba
and also played the Bass Guitar as a Junior in Jazz Band.  He eventually becoming Band President during his Senior year.


Philip performing with the 8th Grade Band for the Winter Performance - Ted Driver, Teacher/Director

Each year Catawba Middle School participated in a Math Logo Contest. Philip entered with a simple poster that said, "Balance Out Your Life With Math".  Philip won the Math Logo Contest during his 8th Grade year.  I was NOT the judge.
Philip also participated in the 8th Grade Science Fair Contest.  It was a requirement as part of his 8th Grade Science class.  The title of his project was, "How Do Variations in Paper Airplanes Affect Flight Patterns".  Philip chose the project, folded all the airplanes, collected all of the data, and made all of the charts.  I helped with advise when he needed it.  I was pleasantly surprised and pleased when he won first place.

Philip with Math Logo Poster and his Science Fair Project



Philip's Winning 8th Grade Science Fair Project


The 1991-1992 CMS Yearbook Staff


The 8th Grade Staff

The 8th Grade Staff included Charlie Baker, Allison Keener, Olivia Little, Philip Loftin, Anna Neff, Sandy Phillips,
Kevin Sigmon, Morgan Sigmon, Erin Simon, Jamie Sweet and Meredith Wike


(Left) Philip delivering yearbooks to a 7th Grade class on Yearbook Day
(Right) In the Gym and waiting for the Yearbook Assembly to begin



8th Grade Superlatives

Philip Loftin and Morgan Sigmon were chosen as "Hardest Workers" by the students for 8th Grade Superlatives


1991-1992 School Portraits

Curtis at Catawba; Philip in the 8th Grade at Catawba; Beth in the 11th Grade at Bandys

This was a wonderful school year - one of my best - perhaps simply because Philip was at CMS, too.

1992 - 1993
18th Year Teaching

The 1992-1993 school year was my 18th.  John Stiver was still Principal.  Jim Gregory was Assistant Principal for the first half of the year but Terry Sipe became Assistant Principal for the second half of the school year.
I gave up my responsibility as Yearbook Advisor in 1992-1993.

I didn't get my photo made this year - they used the same one from last year in the Yearbook


1993 - 1994
19th Year Teaching

The 1993-1994 school year was my 19th.  Richard Johnson became our new Principal when John Stiver went to Bunker Hill High School.  Richard was a fine Christian educator and he and I got along really well.  Terry Sipe continued as our Assistant Principal.

Mr. Richard Johnson, Principal

Since the school mascot for Catawba was the Indian, each team had a specific Indian related name.  Our team was the Warriors.

The 1993-1994 Warrior Team


Sandy takes it easy with the guys

At the end of the school year, Sandy Baucom presented me with a "jestful" award for activities I was involved with during the year.  To begin with, the "Snake Eyes" nickname was one that I acquired when I started wearing reading glasses in 1993.  Since I only needed them for reading, I would frequently look over the top of the frame of my glasses with my stern "teacher look" when I needed to call the classroom down - thus the nickname, "Snake Eyes".  I didn't particularly dislike it. It was a whole lot better than some of the names I was called over 30 years of teaching.
The award further stated that I survived 4 field trips that year.  I liked field trips when I first started teaching, but the older I got, the less I enjoyed them.  Fortunately for me this year, I had a "top notch" team - Sandy Baucom (Language Arts), Bob Bangle (Science), Robbie Abernethy (Social Studies) and me (Math).  The team worked well together and discipline on the team was excellent - perhaps that's why we did 4 field trips.  One of our field trips was an extended-day trip to Raleigh.  There were also several years when we took students to Mt. Mitchell and Blowing Rock as well as Cherokee.  CMS students were frequently invited to attend plays sponsored by the Hickory Theater - things like "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Short Stories by Edgar Allen Poe". Language Arts teachers always wanted to attend these, so we usually did.
The last thing on the certificate was the commendation for being brave enough to lift up "Pernell's" shirt.  By 1993-1994, the style for some of the boys was to wear their paints hanging down low on their hips.  It was against school rules so I usually told students I saw wearing their pants like that to pull their pants up.  One day in the cafeteria, one of my students, Pernell, came by and I told him to pull his pants up.  I was standing there with Sandy and Mr. Johnson when Pernell told me they were pulled up.  I reached over and lifted up his shirt to show him that they were not pulled up - and when I did, his pants fell down - all the way to the floor.  Well, Sandy, Mr. Johnson and I kind of grinned, and I believe it was Mr. Johnson who took Pernell to get a piece of rope so that he could tie his pants up.  That was the "last" time I lifted someone's shirt to show them their pants were sagging too low.

Jestful Award from Sandy and Mr. Johnson



1993-1994 School Portrait


1994 - 1995
20th Year Teaching

1994-1995 was my 20th year of teaching.  Richard Johnson and Terry Sipe were back as Principal and Assistant Principal.

(Left) Mr. Johnson with Curtis in Curtis' classroom - Teachers were suppose to wear their CMS shirts this particular day, but we laughed when we realized that we also had the same pants and shoes (but not the same hat)
(Right) Once or twice a month we had "socials" on Friday afternoon where the kids could buy snacks and spend some time outside just "hanging out" (if their behavior had been good during the week)


During the course of my teaching career, I was Claremont Jayceess Outstanding Young Educator, Math & Science Teacher of the Year several times, and even Catawba Middle School Teacher Of The Year on several occasions. 1994-1995 was the only time I received a plaque for the achievement.

Superintendant Glenn Barger hands Curtis his Teacher Of The Year plaque
at a luncheon hosted by the Central Office


1994-1995 Catawba Middle School Teacher Of The Year

I must have been having a good year this year because I dressed up every day of the week-long School Spirit Week.  On Indian Day, I was told that with my beard and long braids I looked more like Willie Nelson than an American Indian.

1994-1995 CMS School Portrait & School Spirit Day


1995 - 1996
21st Year Teaching

My 16th year of teaching, 1995-1995, was absolutely amazing.  This was our last few years at Catawba Middle before the county built two new middle school and the staff was divided between them.
The Warrior Team teachers consisted of Robbie Abernethy, Sandy Baucom and myself.  That would have been special in itself, but what made the year extra special was the addition of Shannon Ervin (later to become Shannon Sigmon) and Susan Sigmon to the group of teachers downstairs in the 1965 building.  The friendships we formed during those years were amazing.  We spent all of our free time together in the lounge - laughing and enjoying each other's company.  On work days, we went out to eat together, and there was a great amount of jesting and picking between the group of teachers - but we still managed to keep student test scores high.

1995-1996 CMS Downstairs Teachers

Robbie Abernethy, Sandy Baucom, Curtis Loftin, Shannon Ervin (Sigmon), Susan Sigmon


My son Philip did the artwork for this Math Bulletin Board


Teacher Appreciation at Catawba Methodist Church

There are usually a few students each year that help make the days go by more pleasantly.  They go out of their way to be courteous and thoughtful, work hard and usually go the extra mile.  Once such student for me the 1995-1996 school year was Chris Benfied, the son of Terry & Robin Sharpe Benfield.  As part of Teacher Appreciation Day, Catawba Methodist Church asked their students to invited their favorite teacher to join them at the Sunday morning service on 05 May 1996.  I was honored to be the teacher that Chris invited.  Chris was the grand-nephew of my sister-in-law, Diane Self Loftin.


Saying Goodbye to the students at the end of the school year on 24 May 1996


1995-1996 School Portrait


1996 - 1997
22nd Year Teaching

1996-1997 was my 22nd year.  Richard Johnson and Terry Sipe were back as Principal and Assistant Principal.

When Susan Sigmon slips on a blonde wig, Curtis won't let her go till we get a photo


1996-1997 School Portrait


1997 - 1998
23rd Year Teaching

My 1997-1998 year at Catawba Middle School was my 23rd year of teaching.  Terry Sipe was now our Principal.
Jeff Isenhour started his teaching career and I was assigned to be his mentor.  Jeff taught Social Studies.

(Left) Robbie Abernethy, Sandy Baucom, Curtis Loftin, Shannon Sigmon, Susan Sigmon
(Right) Jeff Isenhour was a new 7th Grade teacher



Curtis & Susan pose with the Warrior's papier-mâché Indian mascot

NOTABLE STUDENT: During the 1997-1998 school year, I had the privilege of teaching my grand-nephew, Brandon Kale. Brandon was the son of Rick Kale and Beverly Loftin.


On one particular morning during the 1997-1998 year, I decided to play a prank on fun-loving Susan Sigmon.  Susan didn't know my wife, Carolyn, so on this morning Carolyn showed up at Susan's classroom door about 30 minutes before the students arrived.  She told Susan that she was "Sarah's" mother and that Sarah had come home from school crying because Mrs. Sigmon had been picking on her.  Carolyn told her that she wasn't gonna have her treating her daughter that way and continued to rake the poor teacher "over the coals".  The other teachers and I were in the Teacher's Lounge, next door, with the door cracked so we could hear what was going on.  We were laughing so hard, but had to keep our laughter "silent" so that we couldn't be heard by the unsuspecting teacher.  Finally we broke through the door to Susan's room - laughing so hard.  Carolyn got this big smile on her face, and Susan knew she had been pranked!  Carolyn introduced herself to Susan and told her who she really was and we all had a good laugh - even Susan - who was thrilled that "little Sarah" wasn't upset with her.

1997-1998 School Portrait


1998 - 1999
24th Year Teaching

1998-1999 was my 24th year of teaching - with 23 of them being at Catawba Middle School.  As we started that last year at CMS, our Principal was Mr. Terry Sipe and our Assistant Principal was Mrs. Delayne Martin.
During our last year at Catawba Middle School, we welcomed a new teacher to our close-nit group of friends who taught downstairs in the 1965 building.  Fore Rembert was a new Resource Teacher who taught on our floor and he fit into our fun-loving group really well.

Robbie Abernethy, Sandy Baucom, Curtis Loftin, Fore Rembert, Shannon Sigmon, Susan Sigmon


Fore Rembert, Susan Sigmon, Robbie Abernethy, Shannon Sigmon, Curtis Loftin


Some Additional Wonderful Teachers That I Worked With For Many Years

 Diane Buff (Math), Bernadette Clawson (T.Assistant), Ray Clawson (Science), Jeff Isenhour (Social Studies), Kelly Johnson (Computers)
Ann McCrary (Math), Sherry Sellers (Art), Doretta Starnes (Secretary), Betty Thornburg (P.E.), Keith Wilson (Language Arts)

Years later I would come to learn that Doretta Starnes and I were cousins thorough our "Setzer" side of the family.
She was, and still is, a very sweet lady.
We worked really hard as teachers and always kept our county and state scores high, but we liked to have fun with the faculty and students, too.  I always believed that when students saw the fun loving side of you occasionally, they were less likely to cause problems and more likely to be respectful.
With that said, there was a particular student - a sweet girl named Kati, who was always willing to help the teachers whenever they had things that needed to be done.  On one particular occasion, we sent that poor girl all over the school looking for the key for the door to the pool (swimming pool) room.  Catawba didn't have a swimming pool but she certainly believed us when we told her that it did.  When she asked where it was, we told her it was in the basement below the Gym - well needless to say, the Gym didn't have a basement.  We told her that when the school had swim meets, that you could push a button and the wooden floor in the Gym would slide open so that guests could use the bleachers to watch the swimmers. I don't remember who sent her looking for the "key" but I knew enough to tell her when she came to me, that I had given it to someone else and to go and check with them.  We eventually did confess the truth to her - and even her parents - and as always, she was her usual good-natured self.
Kati was also one of the students who showed up at my room looking for the "rock magnet".
The longer I taught, the more the state became concerned with test scores and the less they cared about teaching students to become good "adults".  I did daily devotions with my students when I first started teaching, but long before I retired the government had declared it "illegal" for teachers to lead the students in prayer or devotions.  We no longer taught morals, and morals all around the nation declined - even in schools.  We couldn't teach what the Bible had to say about the family, or staying "pure" till you got married, as more and more students became pregnant - but the school was allowed to give out condoms.  I longed for the day when life was simpler for both the students and the teacher - when if a student got in trouble at school, he was in trouble when he got home, too. That's the way it was when I was in school - and the way it was when I started my teaching career.

1998-1999 School Portrait

At the end of the 1998-1999 school year, the doors to Catawba Middle School were closed.  For the year 1999-2000, the school became Catawba Intermediate School for the overflow of 6th grade students in several of the surrounding elementary schools.  When the new Catawba Elementary School was built, the old school became Catawba Rosenwald Education Center.  I had a chance to visit the school in 2007, a few years after I retired.  The following photos were taken at that time.

(Left) The entrance to the 1965 Building and the Main Offices
(Right) The brick walls downstairs had been painted white to make the hall brighter



The Classroom that was my home at Catawba Middle School for 21 years


The elevator in the 1965 building was only used by handicapped students and when moving heavy objects

Curtis Loftin: I retired from teaching in 2005, after 30 years of teaching, with 23 of those being at Catawba Middle School. After my retirement, I jointed the group of retired Catawba Middle School teachers who met once a month at various restaurants throughout Catawba County. We'd got to restaurants like Cindy's Starlight Cafe (Catawba), Granny's Country Kitchen (Claremont), Boxcar (Claremont), Bookwood (Maiden), Blue Moon Cafe (Newton), Hen & Egg (Newton), Fresh Chef (Conover), Sweet Taters (Conover), Zorba's (Conover), IHOP (Hickory), Bob Evans (Hickory), Fourk (Hickory), Kick Back Jack's (Hickory) and many many more. Married teachers usually brought their spouces. Often after people retire from work, they lose contact with people the work with - and sometimes that's on purpose. It's currently 2020 when I'm typing this note and the group it still going strong. We've lost many of those we've worked with through death, but the fact that we still get together once a month proves just how special Catawba Middle School was to us.
2017 Jan 17
 First CMS Teacher's Meeting of 2017 at Cindy's Starlight Cafe in Catawba
CMS Teachers Jan 17 2017 
(Going Around the Table, Left to Right) Sandy Baucom, Joyce Westbrook, Sue Allen Smith, Jim Gregory, Dee Blanton, Faye Hawn Shook, Maria Sharpe, Betty Thornburg, Debbie Bandy, Doug Brady, Curtis & Carolyn Loftin 
(Left) Curtis Loftin with Joyce Westbrook at Cindy's
(Right) Betty Thornburg with Joyce Westbrook at Hen & Egg 
We lost Joyce in Dec 2019. She will be missed. 
2017 May 17
 CMS Teacher's Meeting at Hen & Egg in Newton
Catawba Middle School Teachers 
(Going Around the Table, Left to Right) Bernadette & Ray Clawson, Doug Brady, Faye Hawn Shook, Joyce Westbrook,
Betty Thornburg, Jim Gregory, Curtis & Carolyn Loftin, Sandy Baucom, Sue Allen Smith, Debbie Reyonlds Bandy,
Angie Burleson Rudisill, Susan Sigmon, Carol Moore
2017 Oct 19
 CMS Teacher's Meeting at Hen & Egg in Newton
Catawba Middle School Teachers 
(Going Around the Table, Left to Right) Carolyn & Curtis Loftin, Ellis & Sue Allen Smith, Diane Buff, Betty Thornburg,
Sandy Baucom, Faye Hawn Shook, Joyce Westbrook
2018 Oct 17
CMS Teacher's Meeting at Fourk in Hickory
(Going Around the Table, Left to Right)  Dee Blanton, Bernadette & Ray Clawson, Sue Allen Smith, Diane Buff,
Debbie Reynolds Bandy, Faye Hawn Shook, Loretta Stephenson, Sandy Safrit Baucom, Joyce Westbrook, Carol Moore,
Jim Gregory, Beth Hines, Betty Thronburg
2020 Jan 14
 First CMS Teacher's Meeting of 2020 at Boxcar Grill in Claremont
Catawba Middle School Teachers 2020 
(Going Around the Table, Left to Right)  Faye Hawn Shook, Sue & Ellis Smith, Diane Buff, Jim Gregory, Debbie Reynolds Bandy & friend, Angie Burleson Rudisill, Sandy & Danny Baucom, Betty Thornburg, Curtis & Carolyn Loftin 

III. River Bend Middle School (1999-2005)


Aerial view of River Bend Middle School




1999 - 2000
25th Year Teaching

I started my 25th year of teaching at River Bend Middle School in Claremont, NC.  Mr. Terry Sipe was the Principal and Mrs. Delayne Martin was the Assistant Principal.
The mascot of the new school was "The Pirates" so each of the 7th and 8th grade teams chose pirate related names.  The team I worked on chose the name, "The Buccaneers".  The Buccaneers' teachers were Curtis Loftin (Team Leader & Math), Sandy Baucom (Language Arts) and Kelly Feimster (Science).  Sandy, Kelly and I worked well together and enjoyed our first year at the new school.

Buccaneer Teachers: Sandy Baucom, Kelly Feimster and Curtis Loftin

Even though we were in a brand new school, it didn't take long for "me" to realize that we were no longer at Catawba Middle School.  Catawba Middle was "home" for 23 years. I never did feel that teacher moral was as high at River Bend at it had been at Catawba.  For the first time in my teaching career, the county and state were demanding more than I could possibly get done in a single day.  We had been used to doing Team Meetings on a daily basis ever since I was at Catawba, but suddenly with the new grading levels for End-of-Grade (EOG) Tests, there were many more Student and Teacher meetings, Building Leadership Meetings, Department Meetings.  I had to write IEPs (Individual Education Plans) for students who had failed the 7th Grade Math EOG to show that I knew what each students strengths and weaknesses were as well as my "action plan" for being sure they passed the 8th Grade Math EOG.  And even though we never knew the exact questions that were gonna be on the EOG, suddenly our main focus in the classroom was on that EOG test.  Most of the responsibility for student scores was placed on the teachers and not on the students and parents.  If students didn't do well, then we were not doing our job effectively.  My EOG scores always remained good but teaching was no longer as enjoyable as it had been in previous years.

Waiting for the bell to ring at the end of 1st Period

It wasn't unusual for middle grade students to get into fights from time to time.  You learn very early in your career how to break up a fight without getting injured yourself.  During the 1999-2000 school year that changed for me when there was a fight between two boys outside of the bathrooms and very near to my classroom.  With any fight, there is always a group of students standing around - watching - and this fight was no different.  Another teacher and myself managed to get through the crowd and got the two boys separated, but the boy I had "stopped" was not pleased that I interfered so he turned around and slapped me, knocking my glasses off of my face onto the floor.  We finally managed to get the two boys to the office, but the main concern in the office was the fact that the boy has struck me.  His parents were called into the school and when they spoke to him, they asked him, "You didn't mean to hit Mr. Loftin, did you?" - to which he replied, "Yes, I wanted to slap the glasses off of his face."  The parents were more annoyed with me for restraining him then they were for the physical attack on me.  Regardless, he was suspended from school and was not allowed to return to River Bend - having to attend school at the Alternate School in Hickory for the rest of the year.  A few weeks or month later, I received a phone call from a social worker who wanted the boy to take responsibility for what he had done and asked if it would be OK for him to send me a letter of apology - and I agreed to her request.  When the letter finally arrived, it said something like, "I'm sorry if Mr. Loftin "thought" I knocked his glasses off on purpose - but it really was an accident".  A few days later the social worker called to see if I had received the letter and I told her that I did.  I also told her that if the reason she had asked him to write the letter was for him to take responsibility for his actions, then he had NOT accomplished that goal. That was the only time in 30 years of teaching that I was deliberately struck by a student.

There were two high-lights in the 1999-2000 school year for me:


My first granddaughter Savanna was born in April 2000 and makes her first trip to River Bend on a work day -



and I got my Miata in April 2000 (which I kept it till Dec 2013)


1999-2000 School Portrait


2000 - 2001
26th Year Teaching

We got a new principal and assistant principal in 2000-2001 when Scottie Houston and Kim Penley became part of the River Bend Faculty & Staff.

Principal Scottie Houston and Assistant Principal Kim Penley

The third teacher on the Buccaneer Team from 1999-2000, Kelly Feimster, left River Bend after only one year.  Principal Scottie Houston hired Marty Holbrook to take her place.  This was Marty's first year of teaching.

Buccaneer Teachers 2000-2001:
Sandy Baucom (Language Arts), Marty Holbrook (Social Studies), Curtis Loftin (Math) & Principal Scottie Houston

I really enjoyed working with Scottie and Kim. Because of the push for using various learning styles in the classroom, I took a more active role in what administrators thought of my teaching abilities - rather than just waiting for them to visit my classroom several times a year.  We had all recently gone through a series of workshops on the various types of learners.  A visual learner learns best when they see something demonstrated.  An auditory learner learns best by hearing.  A kinesthetic learner learns best through "doing".  Most students learn best when all three types of teaching are used. 
I started taking photos of the various kinesthetic (or hands-on) activities that I did with my students in my classroom and when either Scottie or Kim came by, I'd show them the photos and then invite them back to one of the classes.

(Left) Students make "Burrito-Booklets" to keep math notes in
(Right) Students work math problems on the board


Casey Yang created a Rap Song about "properties" in the Advanced Pre-Algebra Class
Mindy Smith & Corey Keisler work with a protractor, drawing a circle graph and recording date
Next Corey Keisler works in the computer lab creating his circle-graph on the computer and printing a copy
Jordan Kaylor and Steve Vang in the computer lab with Mr. Loftin's Advanced Pre-Algebra Class


Jarrod Weatherford, Cody Wilfong and Jason Griffin collect data for a math project
The Advanced Pre-Algebra class performs the "inverse" of what Mr. Loftin tells them to do


(Left) Kinestetic activity concerning ratios of Asian boys to Asian girls in 1st Period
(Right) Chee Yang, Juana Sanchez & Adam Sims work on a ratio related problem with Skittles


(Left) Corey Keisler and Mindy Smith measure their model car ...
(Right) ... and Corey measures Mr. Loftin's Miata for comparison to the model which was a 1/18 scale


(Left) Glenn Triplet & Lakeia Springs show that drawing a diagram can help you solve math word problems
(Right) Chantris McCullough & Cody Wilfong use a diagram to help solve a word problem in math

In the Fall of the 2000-2001 school year, Mrs. Baucom, Mr. Holbrook and I took the Buccaneer Students to the Ashboro Zoo.  The Ashboro Zoo was a field trip that we did with the students for several years in a row. 
The most memorable trip to the zoo was when I was still teaching at Catawba.  Our team of teachers that year were Sandy Baucom, Robbie Abernethy, Bob Bangle and myself.  When you take a group of 120 eighth grade students to a place like the zoo, they don't stay with you the entire time.  They're allowed to split up into small groups with plans for everyone to meet at a certain location at a certain time to head back home.  What made this particular zoo trip so memorable was the fact that one of our (120) students, "Patty", found an unmanned ice-cream vendor's cart and decided to open it up to sell ice-cream.  She actually made a tidy little profit before a zoo employee caught her and brought her to us.  When we got back home, we met with her mother.  I know the mother was embarrassed over the situation, but she was more upset with the teachers than she was with "Patty". 

Getting ready for the next class in March of 2001


2001 - 2002
27th Year Teaching


An aerial view of River Bend Middle School

The 2001-2002 school year at River Bend began like many others.  There were new students, new teachers, and a new Assistant Principal.  Scottie Houston returned as Principal and Deanna Cresimore Finger became our new Assistant Principal. 

Mr. Scottie Houston and Mrs. Deanna Finger

Sandy Baucom, Marty Holdbrook and I were back as teachers of the Buccaneer Team but this year we had a Resource Teacher, Mr. Simon Beesley (from England) who worked primarily with our students.

Sandy Baucom, Simon Beesley, Marty Holdbrook, Curtis Loftin


Marty and Curtis decked out in their "Red, White and Blue"

The most memorable event of this year was 11 Sep 2001 - when U.S. airliners were hijacked by Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers and flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  I've heard people say, "Where were you when the Twin Towers went down?"  Well, I was at River Bend.  I had just finished my planning period, the bell rang for students to change classes, and when Jeff Webb (a student) came into my class, he asked me, "Did you hear about the airplane flying into the World Trade Center?".  I said, "What?" and he repeated the question, suggesting that I turn the TV on.  I did and we watched as the TV station replayed the video of the airplane hitting the first tower.  We watched as the second airplane hit the second tower, and we watched at both Towers fell.  We eventually learned that 2753 were killed in the terrorist attack and for the first time in my life time, I saw the Nation turn to the LORD in prayer.
NOTABLE STUDENT: I taught Garrett Huffman this year.  Garrett was the Great-Grandson of John Henry Huffman and Elma Loftin Huffman and the Great-Great Grandson of Alonzo Lester Loftin.


NOTABLE STUDENTS: Fuji Khang & Austin Vang

Over my 30 years of teaching, I found that my Asian students were usually the hardest workers and the most respectful.  Most of them came from Laos and had been taught to work hard and respect teachers.  I was fortunate during my 1997-1998 year to teach Fuji Khang and Austin Vang.  The two boys were in the same advanced-level Math class that I taught at CMS and were excellent students.  Fuji and Austin both got awards from our team at the end of the school year.  Usually most student forget about their middle school teachers when they go to high school and beyond, but Fuji and Austin continued to stay in touch with me during their high school years and adult lives.  All through their four years at Bunker Hill, they'd stop by to visit with me when there was a teacher work day.  After they graduated from high school, they'd stop by the house to visit with me occasionally.  When Fuji graduated from high school, I was invited.  When he graduated from college, his family threw him a big party at a Chinese restaurant in Hickory, and Carolyn & I were invited.  When Fuji got married, we were invited to the wedding in Charlotte. Usually where you saw Fuji, Austin was there, too. Fuji's wedding was no different - where Austin served as an usher.  I'm proud of the young men they have become as well as all of my students who have worked hard and become positive, responsible adults.

Fuji Khang, Mong Zong Khang and Austin Vang stop by for a visit in May 2000
at the end of their Sophomore year at Bunker Hill - Fuji's brother Mong died in June 2010



Fuji Khang, and Austin Vang stop by my classroom at River Bend for a visit on 19 Dec 2000
as we break for Christmas during their Junior year at Bunker Hill



Austin Vang & Fuji Khang stop by for a visit at River Bend on 22 May 2002 as they finish their Senior year at Bunker Hill High School (I still had the same shirt)



Fuji stops by River Bend on 20 May 2003 for a visit - the end of his first year of college



Austin & Fuji stop by our house for a visit on 30 Aug 2006



Fuji's parents threw him a party at the King Buffet Chinese Restaurant in Hickory on 23 Sep 2006 when he graduated from college - Carolyn and I were invited to attend and Fuji's old friend Austin was there, too


Fuji married Leechee Yang on 12 Aug 2012 in Charlotte, NC - Austin was the usher on the right side of the photo Carolyn & I were invited to attend the wedding & reception afterwards


(Left) Leechee & Fuji; (Right) Austin


Carolyn, Curtis, Leechee & Fuji at the reception


Curtis with Austin at the reception
Austin's wife said that he still had his math notebook from 15 years before


2002 - 2003
28th Year Teaching

2002-2003 was my 28th year of teaching and my fourth year at River Bend Middle School.  Scottie Houston returned as Principal and Janet Hambrick was our Assistant Principal.

Janet Hambrick and Scottie Houston

Sandy Baucom, Marty Holbrook and I were back with the Buccaneer Team.  Cindy Sestric joined our team as the Resource Teacher.  She and I team-taught math to her Resource Class, with me being the Lead Teacher and she assisting where help was needed.  These resource students usually work below grade level, but I frequently saw most of them raise their EOG Test scores to passing. That was always extremely rewarding.  The thing I enjoyed most about working with Cindy was her pleasant and cheerful personality.  She was never moody and was a joy to work with.

Sandy Baucom, Marty Holbrook, Curtis Loftin, Cindy Sestric

One of the most unique situations I had this year was to have a Blind/Visually Impaired student in my Math Class.  He was a  courteous and hard-working student but special modifications had to be made for him to be in my class.  His Math Textbook was in brail and all of his worksheets had to be prepared in brail - as well as his tests.  I didn't have to make out his brail tests (or check them), but I did have to get a copy of my test to the Teacher Assistant several days in advance so that materials could be prepared.  I found that when I was teaching a lesson, I also had to be more descriptive with my explanations since this students only had his auditory functions (hearing) with which to learn.


2003 - 2004
29th Year Teaching


2003-2004 was my 29th year of teaching and my fifth at River Bend Middle School.  Scotty Houston returned as Principal and Bill Long joined us during 2003-2004 as our Assistant Principal.

Scottie Houston and Bill Long


The Buccaneer Teachers were once again Sandy Baucom, Marty Holbrook, Curtis Loftin and Cindy Sestric.

Sandy Baucom, Marty Holbrook, Curtis Loftin, Cindy Sestric



2004 - 2005
30th Year Teaching

2004-2005 was my 30th and final year of teaching.  During my 30 year career, I taught one year at Sherrills Ford Elementary School, twenty-three years at Catawba Middle School and six years at River Bend Middle School.

Scottie Houston and Bill Long returned as Principal and Assistant Principal


The Buccaneer Team Teachers
Sandy Baucom, Marty Holbrook, Curtis Loftin, Cindy Sestric

I served as Team Leader for the past 15 years

I worked with Diane Buff and Ann McCrary for 29 years - all of us teaching Math at Catawba Middle and then at River Bend Middle.  Twenty Nine years is a long time and the three of us became great friends during those years.

Diane Buff and Ann McCrary

I retired from teaching at the end of December 2005, having accumulated enough sick days to retire early.  I did not stop teaching, however.  I signed a contract with Catawba County Schools and continued to teach, "double-dipped", from January to May of 2005 - without sick leave or paid holidays.


Students hard at work at the end of the school year - May 2005



Be Sure to Check out All of these Pages


Curtis Dean Loftin

Carolyn Janet Weeks Loftin


Go to the HIGH SCHOOL YEARS (1967 - 1971)

Go to the COLLEGE YEARS (1971 - 1975)

Go to the WEDDING (1975)

Go to the TEACHING YEARS (1975 - 2005


If you have additional photos or information contact me at