Ray Pietryla was one of the college’s first physical education instructors at Moraine Valley in 1968, but his classroom wasn’t always a place with four walls and a door. “We were pioneers,” he said. “We taught in community facilities and in open fields and forest preserves. I taught a swim class in an old motel on 95th Street, and I took my students canoeing in the pond on campus, the I & M Canal in Willow Springs and the Des Plaines River.”

He remembers the many “other duties as assigned” the early faculty endured. “In the beginning, we had to do things that didn’t include teaching—like putting together desks and other furniture,” he said.

Pietryla also recalled a group of staff members gathering on a regular basis to entertain other staff members. “We used to meet at a local restaurant that had a small stage where we’d put on skits for the faculty,” he said. “One of the secretaries was the writer and a few of us faculty were the actors. We were known for being funny so mostly we did comedies.”

Pietryla said he and Howie Scheidt, PE supervisor at the time, helped design the first fitness center once housed in Building G. “We helped to determine what kind of equipment the college should get and where it should go, and we put together the curriculum programs, too,” he said.