88-year-old substitute teacher retires for second time

Next week is National Substitute Teacher Week.

On Friday, one very special sub who has been in the classroom for the past 20 years is retiring at 88 years old.

Mr. Larry Willwerth is more than just a substitute teacher at New Smyrna Beach Middle and High School.

"All the kids in school will call me grandfather or grandpop," Willwerth said. "I really felt good about that."

At 88-years-old, he is retiring for the second time.

"That’s my second career," he said. "I’m a plastics chemist by trade, by profession for most of my life... 30 something years."

A few years after retiring as a chemist, he said he wanted to do something else. He found a new passion in teaching.

"I’m glad I was able to touch the lives of all those kids," Willwerth said. "It's given me a purpose, you know? And I felt like I was helping and doing something. That was important to me."

He has taught thousands of students and touched thousands of lives in the community.

School staff and educators threw him a special retirement celebration and presented him with a plaque thanking him for his 20 years of service.

"It’s his personality," Volusia County School Board Member Linda Cuthbert said. "His outreach. We need to celebrate those who connect with children more and more."

As for what he plans to do this time around in retirement, he said he and his wife will go fishing.

"I’ll probably get more involved in the community because I certainly won’t sit around," he said. "That I can’t do. That’s why I’m here."