Callahan Retiring After 30 Years on the Job at CV Tech

Diana Callahan is retiring after spending 30 years running the student bookstore at Canadian Valley Technology Center.

June 1, 2016

CHICKASHA – Diana Callahan cannot remember how many trips she has taken on a school bus. She still sees bright yellow in her dreams.

For 25 years, she drove high school students from both Amber-Pocasset and Tuttle to and from Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Chickasha Campus.

The bus gig led her to enroll in a class herself at Canadian Valley in the mid 1980s. After she dropped students off, she took her place in the Business Office Technology classroom. At day’s end, she hopped back aboard the bus and took students back to their schools.

Callahan’s dedication and work ethic charmed CV Tech staff. In 1986, she was hired in part to run the student bookstore.

Thirty years later, she has announced her retirement, effective June 30.

Callahan, 66, of rural Chickasha, said she looks forward to spending more time with her six great-grandchildren.

“I love this place,” she said. “The staff has always been fantastic to me. One thing that has never changed here is the compassion for students. We work in every way to help them while they are here and to help them find a job.”

Callahan has two grown children, Janice and Kevin, both of Amber, and six grandchildren. Four of them attended Canadian Valley’s child care center, and each of those later graduated from programs at the school.

Callahan has seen a lot of changes in three decades. She believes strongly in treating people right and working hard.

“Driving a bus so long, you hear lots of things,” she said. “One day, I overheard students talking about their mommas. I had enough and pulled over to the side of the road

“I told them, ‘Boys, your mommas may not do everything the way you want, but if it wasn’t for them, your wouldn’t be here. I don’t want to hear anymore badmouthing of your mommas.’”

Callahan admits some people would not like to know she did this, but she said she couldn’t help it.

Chickasha Campus Director Tracy Goyne describes Callahan as an institution who will be dearly missed.

“In over 30 years, no other person has touched as many lives as Diana Callahan,” Goyne said. “She has not been just a bookstore clerk, an instructional assistant and a bus driver. She’s also a friend and a family member at this school.”

Callahan said her strong work ethic was developed while working in each of those capacities at Canadian Valley.

“I probably had many typical days behind the bookstore counter,” she said. “There were many days when I stepped in the back door that I didn’t sit down until I went home. But I always felt like my job has been to meet students’ needs whatever they may be.”

Besides the great-grandchildren, Callahan envisions taking road trips with her two sisters.

“We haven’t planned any yet, but I have already been a lot of places in my life,” she said. “I’ve been to a lot of different counties.”

And a lot of people from a lot of countries have visited Chickasha because of Callahan.

“I have housed 20 exchange students over the years,” she said.

Six from Russia. Another half-dozen from Germany. Others from Vietnam, Columbia, Brazil, Slovakia and South Korea.

Many of the exchange students came from poverty, she said. So spending time in the country in Chickasha, Oklahoma, was a great thing for them.

“One summer I had two boys from Russia who liked sleeping during the weekend on my trampoline,” she said. “They had beds in the house, but they told me they could lay on the trampoline and just stare up into the sky at the stars. It was too cold where they were from to spend nights outside. I didn’t mind.”

She knew she was meeting the needs of those entrusted to her. Something Callahan spent a lifetime doing at Canadian Valley.