Of all of Hayesville High School’s teachers, Mr.

Thomas Penland is perhaps the most well known around Clay County. Over the last thirty years, Mr. Penland has taught an estimated 180 different classes and approximately 2,160 students. Absent only four days in his entire teaching career (5,400 days to be exact), three for deer hunting, and one sick day, Mr. Penland has the lowest number in Clay County for percentage of days absent in during the teaching career. Born on July 23, 1944, Mr. Penland grew up in the early days of Clay County. He attended Hayesville elementary and high school for twelve years and played both football and baseball. After leaving the small town of Hayesville, Mr. Penland attended Young Harris College. Later he got a BSED from the University of Georgia and a Masters’ Degree from Western Carolina University. Mr. Penland’s first job, a plumber’s assistant, earned him fifty cents an hour. He was also a service station attendant, a stock boy in a supermarket, a land surveyor, a sales engineer for Newman Electric Motors Inc., and eventually became a mechanical engineer with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. His first job in teaching was at a private school in Atlanta by the name of Pace Academy. Once he moved back to Clay County, he got a job teaching at the local high school. Mr. Penland especially enjoys fishing and adventure travel. He has camped out in every U. S. state and twelve of thirteen Canadian provinces, he has also hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail. Mr. Penland says his most exciting fishing moment was when he caught the 5.5kg Large Mouth Bass in the spring of 2002. If he had to go on any game show he said he would go on Survivor because he really likes reality shows. Survivor is the only television show he watches consistently because “there are no actors or script”. “We’ve gone from figuring with pencils to computers” Mr. Penland says about how teaching at Hayesville High School has changed over the last thirty years. “ Put a 110% effort into everything and never quit,” he says with a smile, “There’s no such thing as can’t.” Here are a few more facts about the science teacher: *His favorite color is “Green as in money”. *His favorite type of music is country and he especially likes Shania Twain’s new album: Up! *Mr. Penland’s favorite number is ten “because the metric system is based on it”. *His favorite food is Steak and his favorite drink is Coffee. *Mr. Penland’s favorite element is Iron “because it’s tough”. * His favorite magazine is Popular Science. * His favorite sports team is the HHS Yellow Jackets. * Mr. Penland’s favorite scientific formula is E=MC2. * His favorite newspaper is USA Today.