A new horizon: Longtime NHS teacher Butch “B-Rob” Robbins is moving to China

Longtime NHS teacher Butch “B-Rob” Robbins is moving to China


James Simons and Parker Mutter

When you travel, you pack your bags with excitement, just bubbling with joy. There are no sacrifices made for your average trip. It’s an opportunity for you to escape the stresses of your everyday world. But for longtime teacher Butch “B-Rob” Robbins, that will not be the case this Aug.

June will mark the end of Robbins’ final year at NHS. After this year, Robbins will be leaving in August to teach in China at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing. Robbins has already traveled to China eight times since 2015 and was prepared to travel there two more times before moving, although one of his trips has already been cancelled due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak.

Robbins, 55, earned his teaching degree at Ball State and began working at Noblesville High School in the fall of 1986. Thirty-four years later, NHS has remained the only school Robbins has known.

Robbins began his career at NHS as a journalism teacher, but over time, he moved in a different direction, now teaching history and social studies classes to upperclassmen.

In China, Robbins says his job won’t be much different than it is currently. But he also noted that aspects of his new life, like the food and culture he will encounter, will definitely change.

Robbins plans to teach in China for up to two years before returning to America. He mentioned he’s excited that the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing, very near to where he will be staying. In between teaching in China, he says he is thinking about seeing friends in Australia.

Robbins’ new school offered him the job a few years ago, and he wasn’t interested at that time. But after they offered him the position this final time, he knew he couldn’t turn it down. He says he knew the offer would not come up a third time.

When Robbins leaves, it will not be your average trip. It will have sacrifices, and it may not provide an escape from the stresses of his everyday world. In August, Robbins’ journey will be one of mixed feelings, one of tears and excitement, one of fear and joy, one of happiness and sadness. But at the same time, he says it will be a new opportunity. It will be a new challenge,  a new horizon.


Here are some stories about Robbins, told by staff members of NHS.


Dan Swafford: Early on when I was an administrator, we went to many of the away football games. My son was playing and B-Rob and I were good friends with a former Athletic Director, Steve Hurst. We would all go together. Mr. Hurst would often drive because he had a big van. Anyway, Mr. Hurst always had a “short cut’ to get to the game. Whenever he said he had one, B-Rob would get so ticked off because that usually meant that Mr. Hurst would surely get lost on the way and we would end up getting there just like we had taken the regular route. It got to the point where Mr. Hurst and I would make up routes just to see him lose it.

Melinda Miller: I have many memories of B Rob in so many settings because he is all about our Miller Nation. He has been in so many Faculty Night Live shows, ball games, wrestling matches, lax games, swim meets – you name it, he’s there, supporting the Millers and connecting with students, staff, and families.

Shanda Steele: I remember B-Rob from as far back as when I was a young kid. I’d go to the Lady Miller basketball games with my parents, and he was one of the ticket takers.  I didn’t have him as a teacher in high school, but I remember him in Faculty Night Live (Love Shack skit was one of my favorites). As a teacher, I have many great memories of B-Rob, both in and out of school.  I’ve enjoyed chaperoning prom with him and being a part of FNL with him. I would have to say my favorite memory with him in school is doing the roller skating skit (and catching him when he almost fell!) and the “Baby Got Back” Wedding Dance skits with him during FNL.

Ted Ringle: My favorite story about B-Rob is that we met while we were both getting our Master Degrees at IWU. He was the one that encouraged me to apply to Noblesville High School. I believe he even had a little influence in getting me this job. I started here in 2001 and we have been friends ever since. We have done a lot of fun things over the last 19 years and have had many laughs and memories.

Leslie Ringle: B-Rob has been a chaperone on two overseas trips that I’ve sponsored. While I have many funny stories, I love that he is so easily scared, especially of snakes. On our last trip, students brought a rubber snake and were constantly scaring him with it! When B-Rob screams, it’s loud and high-pitched!

Amanda Giordano: Since our son Garrett was born, we’ve always brought him along to school events and get togethers with friends. Garrett immediately formed a strong connection to Mr. Robbins, or Butch to him. This bond has grown over the years and Garrett’s first question anytime he knows we are headed to a school event is, “Will Butch be there?” Mr. Robbins ability to connect with his students, colleagues, the community, and even our sweet boy is just one of many reasons why we love him!

Gregory Richards: My best memory and the highlight of last summer, I was in China teaching with him, He and I and two women from Australia got up at 5:30 every morning, we met, and walked a number of miles around the University of Science and Technology at Beijing, and we just had great conversations and observed the people of all different ages who were out, in China, at 5:30 in the morning, taking their morning exercise, buying things from the markets as they were opening up.