GREAT FALLS – Cascade Public Schools held a retirement ceremony today to honor longtime Montana educator Linda Cotton.
Ms. Cotton began her career in Geyser, spending three years there before moving to Cascade, where she has spent the past 41 years.
She is a business education teacher and over the years she has also been a class adviser, Business Professionals of America (BPA) adviser, liaison between the Cascade Women’s Club and Cascade Schools for HOBY, and managed the Cascade Food Bank with the help of her students.
For as long as she remembers, she always wanted to be a teacher and as a little girl she used to make her siblings play school.
Although she went to school originally for music and English, she wouldn’t change a thing. She says, “If I had plotted my own career path, I could not have planned it better. I love it here, I love the people, my kids, my town, it’s been incredible and I feel totally blessed.”
Being the adviser of BPA is a more project-based learning situation, not just lecturing to students. She says the most incredible part of the project-based learning is watching the kids explore and discover new things.
She has been recognized over the years as a great teacher, including: Montana ACTE Business Teacher of the Year several times, Montana BPA Advisor of the Year, National BPA 35 year Advisor, a 4H leader, a Girl Scout leader, served as an interim state OPI business advisor, a coordinator for numerous state and regional BPA conferences, and an Association for Career and Technical Education Business Division (ACTE) officer.
If you know Ms. Cotton, you will know she calls her students “rabbits.” She says the story behind this is that she used to read a book called ‘Hey All You Rabbits’ to her own children. Her school kids later found the book in her classroom and that’s when it became her signature nickname to call her students “rabbits.”
Over the years, Ms. Cotton has taught three generations of students and plans to stay involved with the Cascade school and the entire community but is looking forward to traveling and spending some time with her family.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News