District teachers begin retirement

BALDWIN - Tuesday, June 14, 11:30 a.m: Buses are loaded for the last time signaling the end of the 2010-11 school year.

Students and teachers display a variety of emotions as the busses prepare to drive away.

Relaxation, relief, and excitement over the prospect of vacation and the lazy days of summer seem to blur the stresses and tensions of exams, deadlines, and discipline.

The reason many of us choose to teach and work with children is obvious as tears stream down our faces when the last hugs are released.

For three Baldwin Elementary teachers this annual ritual will be especially bittersweet this year.

For as Sue Johnson, Jim Papes, and Kathy VanBergen wave their goodbyes on the sidewalk, it will be for the last time. These three teachers with a combination of over 103 years of service in education, have decided to retire. For the first time since they were five years old, their schooldays have come to an end.

Mrs. Johnson came to Baldwin fresh out of college and has spent her entire 39 year career in our hallways. She has taught fourth grade for most of her career, except the last two years in the RTI program.

Mrs. VanBergen’s 33 years in Baldwin include teaching special education for 7 years, before moving to sixth and seventh grade math, and finally moving to sixth grade all day long.

Mr. Papes came to Baldwin 29 years ago after teaching for two and a half years in Walkerville. He has spent all 29 years in Baldwin teaching fourth and fifth graders.

The lives of hundreds of Baldwin students have intertwined with these three individuals. None of these three are rich or famous, but each will leave here with a few boxes of trinkets, countless memories, and the knowledge that they have made a difference in the lives of our children.

We thank them for their hard work, dedication, and commitment and wish them happiness and contentment in the years ahead.