By LESLIE MIELKE
BLACKFOOT – Robert “Bob” Hemmert followed a circuitous path to get to working with students. He is the Career Center Coordinator at Blackfoot High School.
“I love my job,” Hemmert said.
Among other things, the people in the Career Center at the high school help students develop their portfolio, as they line up their classes to meet their long-term goals. On-line classes from Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA) are also available. Students can earn both high school and college credit from IDLA classes.
“We do lots of testing,” Hemmert said, like the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). Students can also get help preparing for their college entrance exams--the ACT and the SAT.
This is the second year the center has been in operation. Last year, 10,000 students took advantage of this service. (Each visit to the career center is counted individually; BHS does not have 10,000 students in its student body.)
Before working in the career center, Hemmert spent eight years working with special needs students.
“I did a lot of tutoring, especially math,” Hemmert said. “I’d befriend them, build them up.
“It’s fun to watch the light come on,” he said.
Hemmert’s job experience is varied. In his junior year at Soda Springs High School, as the student body vice president, he did a weekly radio program about activities at the high school.
Hemmert credits radio for overcoming his fear of an audience.
“As my boss told me, ‘Just remember, you may not see them but you probably have 30,000 people in your audience.’”
After returning from his LDS Church mission in Australia, Hemmert worked at the radio station for the next seven years. He worked as an announcer, cut spots, did some selling, booking and logs.
“I did just about everything,” he said. “If the money had been better, I probably would have stuck with it.”
In 1972, Hemmert started working in wholesale delivery with Meadow Gold which was later sold to Beatrix Foods. He would visit stores, make sales, remove dated foods and stock the shelves. In succeeding years, he worked for Intermountain Beverage and Coca-Cola.
“In 1978, I got the job I wanted with Continental Bakery,” he said.
His day would begin at three or four in the morning and go until five or six in the evening.
“They were long days,” Hemmert said.
In 1992, he worked in outside sales for Cencotech out of West Valley, Utah. It services construction supplies.
In 1994, Hemmert hurt his back and was faced with starting a new career.
“You could go back to school,” said Sheila Jackson from the Idaho Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. “What do you want to do?”
“I’d like to go into secondary education,” Hemmert said, so in 1996, he became a full-time student at ISU.
“For two years, I was going full-time to school and working full time,” he said.
From 1998-2001, he did a lot of substitute teaching at BHS. When BHS administrator Rich Woodfin offered a full-time position with special needs kids, Hemmert jumped at the chance.
He met his second wife, Dalene, at BHS. She also works with special needs students.
“She really knows her stuff,” he said. “She’s a sweetheart.”
They married in August 2009.
Between Bob and Dalene, they have a dozen grown children. Bob has one son and five daughters; Dalene has four sons and two daughters.
Bob has 19 grandkids and on Nov. 12, he added his first great-grandson, Broden Taeg Hiatt.
Hemmert started playing the trumpet in the sixth grade and has been playing off and on for most of his life.
He is also an avid reader.
“My wife and I have a deal,” Hemmert said. “If I buy a book; she buys fabric.”
After he retires, he hopes to return to college to earn a degree in philosophy or sociology.