Steve McCartt

Israel Arreola (left) and Steve McCartt on Friday in front of members of the state National Guard.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Working from home amid a statewide school closure is not how Sedro-Woolley High School teacher Steve McCartt pictured himself heading into retirement.

After 35 years of teaching, McCartt is retiring at the end of the school year. Before he does, one student wanted to give him a special send-off.

While McCartt has spent some of his time since the closure continuing to bring joy to his students via jokes, freshman Israel Arreola, a student of McCartt’s, has spent much of his helping the state National Guard distribute food in Sedro-Woolley.

On Friday, Arreola arranged to have McCartt honored with a formal military salute at the Helping Hands Solution Center in Sedro-Woolley.

“You are an astounding teacher, and an even better person,” said Arreola, according to a news release. “We would like to thank you and wish you a happy retirement.”

As both the son and a father of military veterans, McCartt said the ceremony had special meaning to him.

“I have to admit that I got a lump in my throat when they all snapped to attention and saluted me,” said McCartt in the news release. “My father and son both served in the Air Force, so the respect and prestige of the gesture was that much more profound.”

Except for the taking of a picture, McCartt said the whole ceremony was done while wearing masks and practicing appropriate social distancing.

The National Guard was deployed to Sedro-Woolley in mid-April.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141,, Twitter: @Kera_SVH,

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