Only three days after offering congratulations and bidding farewell to seniors during the graduation exercises, McDuffie County school officials found themselves at the end of yet another sentimental journey. Seventeen "staffulty" members of the local school system were honored at the annual retirement celebration, held in the Thomson High School auditorium on Tuesday, May 27.
"No amount of experience can do for a classroom what years of classroom experience does," Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School Principal Steve Rhodes said as he looked at the honorees seated on the stage. "And we are losing a lot of experience tonight."
Each retiree was introduced and honored by their superior, then given the opportunity to give a small speech and introduce their families.
"When everybody asked what I was going to say at the retirement ceremony, I said 'good-bye,'" quipped Thomson Elementary paraprofessional Sara Engle, as she spread her arms out.
Retirees included Title I Director Dr. Beth Newton, CrossRoads Learning Center Principal Steve Strouble, Dearing Elementary School food service employee Brigitte Hardy, DES Pre-K Resource Coordinator Patsy Jones, DES teacher Sara Kerr, Maxwell Elementary teachers Mary Cummings and Kaye Lokey, Norris Elementary teacher Kay Williams, Thomson Elementary paraprofessional Sara Engle, TES teachers Carol Farr and Jennifer Gibson, Thomson High School guidance counselor Sheron Finnerty, THS paraprofessional and school bus driver Bennie Hester, and THS teachers Rosa Hunt, Rita Faure, Steven Smith and Judy Whittemore.
"It's good to be last, because everything that needs to be said has been said," Ms. Whittemore said during her speech. "So from the bottom of my heart, thank you."
After the ceremony, a reception was held in the THS mall, with music by the THS jazz band under the direction of Jesse Morlan.