Originally published August 30, 2012.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Renton Pavilion Event Center was filled with former Hazen High School students Thursday night. They gathered for a special send off.
"It's for the good guy," said Buddy Waddington, class of 2006. "He's absolutely given me a passion for music."
Vince Lau also graduated in 2006, and said, "Mr. Hibbard means music to me."
Teaching music meant everything to Mr. Hibbard, but his health got in the way.
Leslie Hibbard, his wife, said he waited until the last week of school before he let students and faculty know that he'd be diagnosed with ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Students were crushed to learn that after 20 years of teaching, Mr. Hibbard had no choice but to retire.
"We needed to show him just what he meant," said former student Tyler Smith.
They decided the best way to honor their teacher was to surprise him with a couple hundred of his friends and former students. They put on a two-hour show filled with music and dedications for Mr. Hibbard.
"It is very emotional for me," said Hibbard. "Our days are numbered and you need to treat people like their days are too."
Hibbard said as he moves into retirement, he is focused on living in the moment.