When classes resume at Evans High School after the holidays, it will be without Lt. Col. Patrick Rivette, its longtime JROTC instructor.
After 18 years, Rivette's final day at Evans High was Friday, but it didn't mark the end of his teaching career.
Rivette and his wife, Miriam, plan to move to Manila, Philippines, next month to teach at a mission school.
"We're obviously anxious. This is a big step," Rivette said. "But we know that this is what God has called us to do. We're just stepping out in faith."
In his first semester at Faith Academy, Rivette said, he will teach social studies and a class called The Life of Christ. In the fall, the 61-year-old will switch to teaching physical education. Miriam Rivette will assist teachers of elementary-age pupils.
Rivette took up teaching after a 21-year stint with the Army. He announced plans to retire from Evans High in the summer.
Though he's still interviewing candidates to replace Rivette, Evans High Principal Don Brigdon said he should have someone in place by January.
"He's always been willing to give whatever it takes," Brigdon said of Rivette. "He's served our country. He's served our students. Now he's going to serve in the Philippines. His life has been about service and giving everything he can."
For 20 years Rivette and his wife have supported missionary work and have taken short-term mission trips. He intended to turn to full-time missionary work two years ago but was delayed by a prostate cancer.
"It's something I've been wanting to do for many years," he said of the missionary venture. "Now just seems like the right time."
The new job will keep him in the Philippines for at least two years.
Once he's away, Rivette said, he'll probably miss many things here. So far, though, he's sure only that he'll miss his children, grandchildren and students.
"The biggest thing I've enjoyed is watching the (JROTC students) go on to (military) academies and ROTC scholarships," he said. "We've had 19 go on to military academies and about 24 get senior ROTC scholarships."
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