Students and staff members at Cimarron Elementary celebrated a real milestone this month; not perfect attendance or straight As – but the 90th birthday of one of their long-time volunteers.
The guest of honor was Dr. Bill Butler, a retired physics professor who has been volunteering at Cimarron since 1991 when his grandchildren were students at the school. Grandson Douglas Whalin is now working on his Master’s degree in Byzantine History at the University of Oxford in England, while granddaughter Christine Whalin is in her first year of Veterinary Studies at Colorado State University.
“So you can see what a good job Cimarron did,” said Dr. Butler proudly.
This dedicated volunteer followed his grandchildren from grade to grade. When they went on to middle school, he stayed at Cimarron, helping students in myriad ways.
“He’s really good at math,” said fifth grader Kathryn Nelson.
“He makes it easy.”
“He loves to inspire others,” said Joseph Westley, who’s also in fifth grade.
“He’s so humble,” said teacher Mary Anna Fox. “He ended his career as a college professor, yet he would sit and count pennies with my kindergartners.”
During the birthday party, Dr. Butler and his wife, Ginny, were treated to cake, a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday Cha-Cha-Cha,” and many hugs. The students also presented him with a timeline of his life, starting with his birth in 1922, followed by the invention of television in 1925, and continuing through the debut of the iPhone4 in 2010 and Dr. Butler’s 90th birthday in 2012.
Dr. Butler, who was honored as Cimarron’s Exceptional Volunteer in 2006, said he’s loved every moment of his twenty-one years with Cimarron students.
“It’s been a ball!” he said. “I’m at least 20 years younger because of Cimarron!”