It was 1962 when John Mihaloew first stepped into the classroom as an educator.
In November—50 years after his career in education began—students and faculty at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart celebrated the long-time educator's 80th birthday.
"Overnight they decorated my room with all kinds of balloons," Mihaloew said of the celebration."It was kind of fun. I got a little chuckle out of that."
After five decades in front of a classroom, Mihaloew said he has no plans of slowing down.
He first joined the faculty at OLSH in 1978, after beginning his career teaching at the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh city schools.
He's taught thousands of students during his tenure at OLSH, even teaching two or three generations of some families at the Moon Township parochial school, he said.
"I feel as long as I still have something to give, I'll keep teaching," Mihaloew said. "I'm in relatively good health, I have a good energy level, and my mind is still as inquisitive as ever."
OLSH communications director Jessica Cerchiaro said the school's tight-knit faculty rallied around Mihaloew's birthday celebration.
"Every student wrote him a birthday message and we had banners hung in his room," Cerchiaro said. "And the faculty had a social after school to celebrate. So he was very excited."
Mihaloew, who resides in Economy borough, said he's passed up other professional opportunities to stay in front of the classroom.
"I've had other offers and things, maybe to go into administration, and I decided that's just not what I wanted to do," he said.
Mihaloew teaches physics and computer science at OLSH and helped spearhead the school's student-run television program. He's also a former soccer coach at the school.
"My plans are to continue until I can't do it any longer," he said. "Teaching has a benefit in that it keeps you young."