The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 3, 2012

They’ll miss the kids: Retiring educators honored

OTTUMWA — After 34 years in the classroom, teacher Nancy Manson tells herself she’s leaving the school in good hands.

“It’s been my life. But it’s only fair that now a young person will have a chance to make it their life,” said the second-grade teacher Wednesday.

Manson and 14 other retirees from the Ottumwa school district were being honored at a reception with coffee, cookies and cards from colleagues.

These are people, said Superintendent Davis Eidahl, who have made a difference not just to the school district, but to the community. Many of the children who were influenced by these employees are still in Iowa as adults.

“I’ll miss seeing the littlest children, watching and listening to them as they progress,” said school secretary Debi Blew, a 20-year Ottumwa veteran retiring from Pickwick Elementary School.

Ottumwa High School librarian Melinda Quinn enjoyed seeing young people discover new things. And it meant a lot to her when students would give her favorite compliment: “Mrs. Quinn, you always know where to find just the right book.”

So is there anything these educators won’t miss?

“Getting up early,” admitted Quinn.

A friend said Quinn would rise at 4:30 a.m.

“I have for years,” Quinn said. “I felt it was important to have the library open before the kids arrived in the morning.”

These dedicated employees, said Eidahl, won’t be forgotten.

“As I look out, I see the faces of other retired people, people who I continue to see in our classrooms. So consider this an invitation to continue to be a presence in our schools.”

At Manson’s table, Eisenhower student Eli Moughler, 7, was paying a visit. Manson listened attentively to his comments. Later, she acknowledged the children would be the ones she missed the most.

“I can honestly say every day has been wonderful. I’ve never said ‘I don’t want to go to work today.’ There were children who needed me, depended on me,” she said through quiet tears. “It’s going to be especially hard when the aisles at the stores are filled with crayons and things for back-to-school time. But we’re leaving the schools in good hands. This is a good district.”

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