Making a Difference: Beloved Lee County teacher retiring after 40 years

Posted at 12:16 PM, Nov 19, 2019

LEE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — After 40 years, a beloved Lee County teacher is calling it quits.

Orville Bennett has been the FFA teacher at Lee County High School his entire professional life.

When you ask Bennett what he will miss the most about teaching, he answers without hesitation.

"Students... the students," said Bennett.

It is a rare moment of seriousness for a man who is known for anything but.

"He's lovable I guess," said senior FFA officer Jeffrey Hobbs.

Bennett has been asked by former colleagues about his retirement and why he hadn't taken it yet.

"All of my friends that I started with, they've already retired, and they keep saying 'Why are you still teaching?'" Bennett chuckled.

Over the years, he has taught generations of families.

"It's gonna be different. He taught my dad, taught my brother, taught my sister," said junior FFA office Budge Cox. Cox has known Bennett since he was 6-years-old.

At one point, Bennett lived on school grounds and even got married there.

"I think everybody in this school knows who Mr. Bennett is," said Hobbs. "I'm positive everybody knows who he is."

Bennett's motto is "Agriculture is an Adventure," and he brings that spirit to his students every day. Whether he is roasting a pig or hauling a palm tree into the school building, Bennett always kept things interesting.

Students said that Bennett makes school worth coming to, and for those returning next year, it will not be the same.

"Getting to see him... getting to see what he's going to do, what he's going to say next," Cox said as he listed things he will miss about Bennett.

Now, it is time for Bennett's next adventure. With his wife, he will hopefully visit Alaska, his 50th state, but it is safe to say that his love for his students and the school will never be far from his heart.

"This has been my life right here... it's gonna be hard to walk away," said Bennett.