There was some roasting and lots of toasting at Les Loomis' retirement celebration at the Normanside Country Club.
Dozens of friends, family and colleagues both past and present came together on the evening of Friday, May 30, to reflect on Loomis' 21 years as the superintendent of Bethlehem Central Schools.
Many speakers talked about the positive impact the long-time superintendent has had on the community and about his legacy as the district's leader. Others couldn't pass up the chance to get in some final ribbing at the expense of their boss and mentor.
Dave Rounds, a Bethlehem High School teacher and Bethlehem Central Teacher's Association president, was the first to really needle Loomis as he showed the audience a tiny, 4-inch square booklet that he said comprised all the things Loomis had done to motivate the teachers in education over the past 20 years.
To a lighthearted round of laughter, Rounds continued, pulling out several large stacks of computer paper containing what said were e-mailed responses from teachers and administrators of their humorous accounts of working with Loomis.
He proceeded to read one of the fictitious e-mails to the audience.
Dear Dave, thank you for the opportunity to share my experiences do you remember when he hired Les? Rounds read. "I do. I was on the hiring committee, and I specifically remember a young Dr. Loomis and his resume at Bethehem. I have attached it for your review and to share with others his first resume."
Rounds held up a small stone tablet to the crowd roaring in laughter and said, "If you can't read hieroglyphics, it simply says, 'I'm Les Loomis. I graduated from Harvard. Please hire me.'"
All kidding aside, there was no shortage of praise for Loomis and his family over what was described by many as a distinguished career and a legacy of leadership.