Some like purple and some like brown, but Rick Wetherell claims to have no preference.
Wetherell is the mayor of North Bend and a substitute teacher for not only Marshfield, but also rival NBHS as well. As strange as that may seem, Wetherell said he enjoys it.
“It seems that some North Benders are more North Bend than I am,” Wetherell said. “They can’t believe I come over here.”
Wetherell often wears a customized shirt that is brown on the front for North Bend and purple on the back for Marshfield.
“I wear this shirt because Superintendent Granger gave it to me, and I wear it because I realized perhaps North Bend isn’t the only school that’s wonderful,” Wetherell said.
Wetherell taught at NBHS for many years, and his former colleague Steve Greif said he and Wetherell taught across the hall from each other for more than 25 years.
“He taught English and I taught history and he four to five years earlier than me, and when I heard he was substituting in other school districts I was really surprised because he invented ‘TGWB,’ meaning ‘Thank God, we’re Bulldogs,’ so to hear he was teaching in other districts was strange for me,” Greif said.
According to Weatherell, TGWB means various things.
“Well, 30 years ago it meant ‘Thank God, We’re Bulldogs,’ but then I decided I wanted to spread that out so I said ‘Together We’re Better,’ and then I went to Kingsview Christian School and it became ‘Thank God, We Believe’ and then, because I’m the mayor of North Bend, it became ‘Together We Build,’” Wetherell said. “See? TGWB really does all. And then there’s that one nobody really liked which is ‘Thank God, Wetherell’s buff.’”
Greif said he recommended Wetherell for Oregon Teacher of the Year in the 1980s.
“I recommended him because he is great with kids of all ages and loves his job no matter what. He is very active in his community and was a sub varsity coach for football, basketball and baseball,” Greif said. “The year I recommended him, he won.”
According to senior Leticia Gonzalez-Edwards, Wetherell is comical.
“Mr. Wetherell is so funny and every time I see him he gives me a sucker and he calls it a knowledge pop,” Gonzalez-Edwards said.
Gonzalez-Edwards said Wetherell is a caring man who knows how to cheer people up when they are down.
“He’s nice and he’s always there with a smile to brighten my day when I need it, and he helps me with my homework and I appreciate that,” Gonzalez-Edwards said.
Greif said he thinks Wetherell is funny.
“Rick is a man who is quick with jokes, and he is very relaxed and likes to make fun of himself often,” Greif said. “He was also very good at what he did, which was teach English, and he would take kids from any grade and teach them things and they would be motivated to learn.”
Vice Principal Bryan Trendell said he has known Wetherell for quite some time.
“I’ve known him for about 40 years, and he’s a great guy who’s well-known in the Bay Area community,” Trendell said.
According to Trendell, Wetherell is great with students and they love him.
“He has a way of letting kids know that he is there to help them and support them,” Trendell said. “It’s great that he comes here and works with our kids. He just loves kids whether they’re Pirates or Bulldogs. It makes no difference to him, and I really appreciate that.”