Warren Wish went 100 miles an hour in his career as a school counselor.
At one time, literally.
Granted it was awhile ago, in the early 1970s, and out around Tonopah in Nye County. Yet that fact from the days when Nevada had no open-road speed limit is a telling tidbit regarding this counselor, who meets life full speed. So these days, with his counseling career ending, he talks of retooling rather than retiring.
"I've come to the conclusion that I have to reinvent myself," said Wish, a 61-year-old counselor at Carson City's Eagle Valley Middle School.
Wish was there when Eagle Valley opened in 1982. He joined the middle school after eight years at Carson City High School and a couple at his first job in Nye County, which is where he sped around to advise students at 11 schools in the Tonopah area. The optimistic educator recalls burning up more than one automobile engine for the district in Nye County.
Colleagues say his absence will leave a void.
"He's a treasure," said Barbara Guggia, an Eagle Valley English teacher. "He's priceless."
Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski praised Wish as a professional educator, but also for his commitments to training guide dogs for the blind and to leadership roles in the Ormsby County Education Association.
"He's an amazing person," she said. "The district will miss him."
Eagle Valley Principal Chad Lindeen concurred. "He is just a problem-solver. He's my MVP."
For guidance counselors, praise from co-workers is good to hear. And so is praise from former students.
Lori Pasqua, now a counselor for the Washoe Tribe at Douglas High School, recently honored Wish at a tribal ceremony. She said he was crucial at Carson High in urging her, despite hurdles, to finish high school.
"It was the motivation," she said. "He said, 'You can get this done.'"
She said her job for the past 14 years requires using similar motivation to get students she counsels to finish high school work.
Wish has served in various leadership roles with the local education association, but cites his work on teachers' rights and grievances procedures as essential. He also has ties with the statewide association.
Terry Hickman, formerly a counseling colleague at Carson High and now executive director of the Nevada State Education Association in Las Vegas, noted he and Wish once team taught a "peer counseling" class. He said Wish's positive attitude was the glue in that endeavor.
"At least two of our students later returned to Carson High as teachers, which was the ultimate compliment," Hickman said.
Seven years ago, Hickman recommended Wish for a seat on the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) board, a recommendation the governor then followed. That led to work in which Wish takes real pleasure. He feels solid pensions keep public employees in Nevada after retirement, contributing to the economy.
Pride also laces his voice as Wish talks of the Carson City Guide Dog Club and in-school programs pairing young dogs with students. He said it is great for both. The dogs later go for six months of guide dog college work in California, then are matched with blind persons. Wish and his wife, Claudia, can boast 23 years in such work.
The retiring counselor, a product of big cities who "never felt comfortable in them," came to Nevada in 1969. Born in the Bronx of New York City, he also lived in Los Angeles and attended San Francisco State University before transferring to the University of Nevada-Reno.
He worked in casinos to get through school and while pondering possible careers in law, photojournalism or education. After a teaching internship, he decided he would prefer counseling and got a master's degree.
Photography remains a passion. He may incorporate that into whatever he does next.
Whatever that is, he likely will move full speed ahead to figure it out so he doesn't waste the time stretching before him due to retirement from the Carson City school system.
"I'll do some soul-searching and find a way to be of service," he said, "because that's my life."