The Woodward News

Local News

May 12, 2013

Veteran educators retiring

School district losing over 125 years of experience at Horace Mann

Woodward, Okla. — Horace Mann Elementary will soon be bidding a fond farewell to 3 longtime educators.

A retirement reception for 4th grade teacher Cindy Brown and 3rd grade teacher Cheryl Lucas will be held at the school on May 16 at 3:45 p.m.  A second reception will be held on May 21, also at 3:45 p.m., for Principal Debbie Harrington.

The News recently sat down with these 3 women to discuss their time with the Woodward Public School District and what their educational careers, which together total more than 125 years, have meant to them.

"Each day is an experience; there's always something new," said Lucas, who after 50 years of teaching 3rd graders, ought to know.

"There's never a dull moment.  Whether you're in a class with 25 kids or an administrator with 296 kids, you never know what you're going to get" said Harrington of her 37 years in education, which included teaching 2nd grade for 3 years in Sapulpa and around 22 years teaching 1st grade in Woodward before moving up to serve as the Title 1 coordinator for 5 years, curriculum director for 4 years and finally 3 years as an elementary principal.

And while there have been many changes over the years, the biggest has been seen in technology, said Brown who taught 3rd grade for her first 3 years and then spent the last 4 decades teaching 4th grade.

"I remember having to have one of my students show me how to turn my first computer on," Brown said.  "It's still the same today, I still have my students help me out with technology."

But the women agreed that there is one thing that has never changed throughout their many years in education: their love for their students.

"We have loved teaching and it's been because of the children," Lucas said.

"The children are the reason," Harrington concurred.

However, they each have their favorite age group, as evidenced by the number of years they dedicated to a specific grade.

Lucas said she likes 3rd graders because "they're young enough that they're very loving, yet they're creative and willing to learn."

Brown said she enjoys the slightly older 4th graders because "they're all like sponges; they absorb everything you give them and want to keep learning an finding out new things."

"And they learn a lot of new things in 4th grade," she said.

"That's what I liked about 1st grade; almost everything is new for them," Harrington said.

Especially at the time when she was teaching 1st grade because "back then we didn't have ECC and they had only been in half-day kindergarten, so they had not even had a lunch period yet, you had to teach them how to eat in the lunchroom as well as everything else."

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