S: The TEACHER
FC: THE TEACHER "Well done, good and faithful servant." Matthew 25:21
1: Mom, we wanted to to compile a few of the memories and letters from the lives of those you've touched. We love you and are so proud of you. Dad, Rob, Ash and BB July 2011
9: Dear Jill, Gosh! How time flies! It seems like it was only yesterday when we began our teaching experiences at Goodloe Elementary School. I guess that's because our friendship never wavered since the day we met and through God's grace we have been victorious. You know Jill, we clicked! Well, I have many, manny anecdotes I can share with you. You know you and I should get together and write a book before our memory fades. For now, I am going ot share a few. So, close your eyes, visualize, and read my, "Remember that time..." Remember that time... We got to school early each morning, drank hot chocolate, collaborated about our students, brain-stormed ideas, and focused on how we could help them individually. We shared, laughed, and started each day on a positive note. The children commented, "You laugh all the time." Each day for us was a new beginning for each child. Remember that time... We went to our principal, Mr. Ken Willis and said that we needed our own keys. You see, we burned the midnight oil nightly. So did he, but we wanted our own keys. He checked into it, and gave us keys. I believe we started the key trend in the Owensboro City School; weren't we awesome! Remember that time... You thought my handwriting was so pretty. You had me address around 200 or more invitations to your huge wedding at St. Stephens Cathedral.
10: Remember that time... You were excited about having your first child. You came to school happy daily. Somewhere in the course of time, fog brain set in. You checked a book out of the school library to read to your class and never returned it. We would get together at break time and each day our close friend, Mrs. Dorothy Smithson, the librarian would ask you about the book. "I sure wish you could find that book you checked out." Your reply was always teh same too, with a smile, "I know I checked it out Mrs. Smithson, and I think all the time I see it, but I don't. I sure hope I find it." She would walk off and say, "You'll find it one day." Well, this ritual went on for months. You were almost entering your ninth month, believe it or not, and we were talking during break. For some reason, I looked on your desk and there was the book. It was standing tall. I said, "Jill, there is the book you thought you were seeing all these months." We laughed and laughed, because the book was looking at you for almonst nine months and you never saw it. Remember that time... We were the Bobbsey Twins, at least the students saw us as twins. They called me Miss Monarch you, Mrs. Phillips. We never, ever, ever to this day, corrected them. We always smiled, answered, and talked, regardless of whether there were other adults around or not. We were always about the students. In fact, one evening you went to the main brannch of the post office. It was located on 18th street and you were waiting in line. One of you neighbors was there too. You looked around and one of our old students saw you and yelled, "Hi Mrs. Phillips!" You smiled and talked to her. You glanced to the side and saw your neighbor staring at you like you lost your mind. That didn't stop you. We learned, students that are loved as we loved them, don't see color barriers. Our students never seemed to know you were white and I am black. Remember that time... Your close black friend in Lexington died. You had taught with her prior to coming to Owensboro. Well, you had just gotten your job at Goodloe. You were hired as a Resource Teacher. You said to me, "I'm new, but I'm going to my friend's funeral in Lexington. I'm asking for the day off." You knew you wouldn't get paid for it, but being at the funeral of an elderly friend meant so much to you, therefore, you eagerly took off work and traveled back to Lexington. These are a few of the stories, and believe me just a few, because in over 30 years, I have many more I can tell. Jill, you are indeed a wonderful person, a true friend, a person that is dedicated to children. Your slogan has always been, "It's about the children." I am happy that our lives have crossed and we have remained steadfast friends. I wish the best for you always. THhanks for being the quality friend you've always been. May God bless you richly in your retirment. You've earned it. Della J. Phillips (DJ)
11: Dear Jill, I head that you are going to close the school books, shut the school door and join those of us who made the decision sevearl years ago. Now, retirment doesn't mean that you find an easy chair, open a good book and call this retirement. Retirement means you can try something new, something different, maybe fulfill a dream that you've had for years. you can travel, meet new people, and exlpore new ideas and just enjoy this new phase of your life. I believe that you, like Della, will peek into education doors until you find some way to continue to prepare our young people for the future. I chose to take a glimpse in the past and found a deep appreciation for my ancestors who faced unbelievable dangers and problems so that I can live in this wonderful country without fear. You and Della traveled new educational paths and my travels are usually to cemeteries. I have a wealth of memories from Goodloe Elementary School. I find it strange that the three of us became such lifelong friends. I was a middle aged woman whose children were preparing to enter college and we didn't want them to start their adult life with huge loans. Della was a young mother beginning to raise her family and you were a young single woman. All three with different lives, backgrounds, religions, and even color, but we all three loved our young people and knew the value of education. I really believe we learned from each other. The birthday card that Della gave me explains our friendship in the right way. "Finding time for friendship seems more compllicated than ever, that's why the easy kind of friendship we share means so much...It would be wonderful to see you more often, but it's also good to know we can easily pick up where things left off." So many memories. I believe it may have been the first year you had the sixth grade and you had made arrangements for you class to walk to the Hotel Owensboro for lunch. Maybe you class has studied France. Enoch had broke some class rules and was not allowed to go with the class. Of course he pulled all the strings he could to get you to change your mind. You stood firm. I don't think you ever raised your voice, but you had outstanding discipline. Your students thought so much of you that they didn't want to disappoint you by breaking class rules. Remember the Bill Martin program (I think it was Bill Martin) about the states? The gym was packed with parents and the class gave an outstanding performance. Several years later, one of your girls, mayber he name was Barbara, asked me if I remembered that night. She told me it was the happiest day of her life. Did we take part in a Christmas musical program? I remember Mrs. McClure had two worn plastic candles for decoration. That may have been the night someone on stage had an accident. We sniffed around and asked if anyone needed to go to the rest room, trying to located which cast member had the problem. We never found the guilty party.
12: Mr. Willis joined us for lunch one day in the library and he was amazed that we could argue and never get angry. Della thought it was wrong for women to wear pants, but when I would say, "Jesus wore a dress" she would come back with "don't say that Dot". Those were the good days, my dear friend. Then Mark came into your life and and soon marriage plans were being made. One day you said you would like a song from "Jesus Christ, Super Star" sang at your wedding. I knew there were inappropriate words in the song. I think it was "I've had so many men before." I don't remember what Mrs. McClure sang, but it wasn't that song. You have touched so many lives and I know you will find a way to continue to have a wonderful influence on those who are truly seeking an education. Best of luck! Enjoy your retirement. We love you, my dear friend. Love, Dot
15: To Jill Monarch Rone, Jill, remember the great times we had at Goodloe Elementary School. Although the school closed, and we have gone our different ways and reared our own children, we always remember the close-knit family atmosphere and friendships we developed at Goodloe that lasted for years. I had close friendships at Goodloe, the kind that even though we might not have crossed paths for years, when we do we talk as if it's still 35-40 years ago. Jill, you were such a friend to me and many others, especially those that had a love and passion for children and the need to see them succeed in school and life. Jill, the things I remember about you are many. You were always there to talk about life or give good advice to a wet behind the ears 29-year old principal. You along with 2 or 3 others I give much of the credit I had as an administrator. You were there for other staff members too. That's why many are still close friends today and why you were able to advance in your professional career, even though you were sidelined for a while rearing your family. But to really know you, Jill, one has to delve into your relationship with students. You were definitely one of the best teachers I have ever known, as evidenced by your skills in curriculum and psychology, plus your exceptional intelligence. You always made a positive difference in your students' lives. Many still stay in touch and come back to tell you that you are the best teached they've ever had. Almost invariably when I talk to your former students they say, "Remember Miss Monarch? She was the greatest!" When a retiring teacher looks back at his/her career, that is the standard he/she wants to be judged by in that "Great Teacher Report Card." Finally, Jill, I have to share a memory that might seem strange to some and humorous to others. Remember how we (God forbid!) used to paddle children? Some of us thought at the time it helped discipline in the school to certain individiual children if administered properly. The memory of Jill with a paddle in her hands stands out because she was such a wonder with a paddle. Jill had such a serious face with a pained and disappointed look clearly showing. Jill talked to and listened to the child so long about the incident that the child was more ready for the paddle application and definitely felt guilty about putting Jill in that position. Very few had repeat interviews with the "Board of Education!" What memories we have! Happy retirement, Jill. You friend, Ken Willis
16: Miss Jill Monarch, I'm very please to write of how you were and still are a big inspiration in my life. You always encouraged me to do the best at whatever I set out to do. Your smile lifted me up. Your warmth as a teacher secured me, always looking forward to the next school day. I remember you taught me how to shift gears in your little yellow Volkswagen, and even invited me and other students to your home. I, today, say thank you so much, for all the wonderful memories and I love you very much. Thanks for being my teacher, and above all for being a part of my life. Congratulations on your retirement and God bless you and your family. Joseph R. Murphy | Mrs. Rone was a very caring lady. My 5th grade year was the first year I attended Owensboro Public Schools and went to Estes. Mrs. Rone was there and she always made me smile because of the nice things she always had to say, and she too was always smiling. Now when I see her, she still has that great smile! Thanks for all you have done. Annie Puckett
17: Jill Rone, where to begin on how much she has inspired my life. She showed me how to be successful, despite my getting in trouble in class. She always redirected me to do other things, for instance, takeing me to the library to read to a younger group of kids. She had four of us that she made sure to keep a close eye on-Melody, Joseph, Robert and Dorine. If we weren't in school she made sure she came to our house to see if we were doing okay. She encouraged me to be more caring to others when I thought I didn't have a care in the world. What I couldn't see myself, she always saw in me. Now I am older, a single parent of three kids and a grandmother of eight grandchildren. I was blessed to retire from the City of Owensboro at the age of 41. I just want to say, thank you, to a woman that has been a big inspiration in my life, Ms. Jill Monarch Rone. Melody Howard
18: Hey Jill! I heard that you are giving it up! Finally joining the ranks of "Retirement Hood" - a new phrase I use to let people know my state of livelihood. I am very happy for you, because you deserve it. I was thinking about the past, and how much we shared together during our tenure at OPS. Remember when...students and staff called you, Miss Monarch? Remember when...there were 13 schools in our district when we started? Remember when...our employer was called by another name (Owensboro Schoo System, Owensboro City School District, Owensboro Independent School District, and Owensboro Public Schools System)? Remember when...the Board of Education was located at 7th and Walnut Street? Remember when...we had three 7-9th Jr. High Schools, or the Middle School (6-8th grade), or the 9-10 Center, or the rotating high school system sections, or the 6-7 Center, or the Mary Mitchell Center? Remember when...Franches Lashbrook was one of the most feared people in our school district-she had a lot of power? Seems like she would pop in your classroom almost every week. Remember when...we lead our students at the beginning of each day with a prayer and the Pledge to the Flag? Remember when...we only had neighborhood elementary schools, where every kid group up with each out, walked to/from school together in groups, where we knew every parent and all their siblings, becaue we taught ALL of them as they went through us, year by year?
19: Remember when..."Goose Egg" park was the only park our students knew, and we walked them there every Friday without permission slips. Remember when...a "Superstar" Popsicle was $.10, and we brought our whole 4th and 5th grade class (Lee/Baggett/Monarch/Phillips) a chocolate, or a red/white/blue one at Velvet Milk Company every other Friday for a reward for being good. Our kids at Goodloe were so good, we could have rewarded them every week, but we couldn't afford to because we only got paid on the 15th of every month. Do you remember the size of the paycheck or that yearly salary? Remember when...the District closed Goodloe Elementary School and we all cried? We were separated from most of our good friends (Dot, Della, Nancy, Sara, Leigh Ann, John, Chuck, Jane, Marcia, Ron, Marilyn, Jo Ann, Toni, Carson, Walter, and many others!) If you can remember most of these things, you have here just as long as I have or longer. It's good to remember the past, because those are some of the best times of your life. It's time to focus on your future, because it can be also enjoyable. My grandmother told me when I left home to go to college-"Life is what you make it, you can make it good or bad for yourself, but it is up to you!" So, Jill Monarch Rone-enjoy your days of "Retirement Hood" and thanks for being part of my life. Walter Leon Lee
20: Dear Mrs. Rone, Wait a minute, there needs to be a correction to start; it should read Ms. Monarch, because that is the person who taught me in 6th grade. The person that always showed interest in all of her students, the person who made you want to work hard, and the person who made you want to do more. I remember when... It was cool to like school and have a favorite teacher. THAT WAS YOU. It was okay to hang onto a teacher's every word. THAT WAS YOU. You would go home and talk about a teacher forever (at least it seemed that way to your parents) and they just had to know who this person was. THAT WAS YOU. If you got in trouble in class, a paddling was your least concern-it was the disappointing look on your teacher's face. THAT WAS YOU. (of course, I never got in trouble.) A teacher would help you build your confidence. THAT WAS YOU. Because of a special teacher, you wanted to become a teacher too. THAT WAS YOU. I think back and a few moments standout in my mind, one was when on several occasions, Bubbie and I were left in charge of the classroom, while you walked down to Velvet to get all of us ice cream because we had a good week. Another was when I was suprised and named Outstanding Girl in my 6th grade year. Oh by the way, I still have the plaque. I also have fond memories of returning to visit after I was in high school and a college student. I returned because of the person you were to me and I want to thank you for the role you played in my life. I was very fortunate to have you as a teacher and I pray that you enjoy retirement and the many endeavors you choose as part of your retirment. To think, I can retire this year also. Wishing you the very best. Love, Jeanette Rowan
21: It was the Spring of '75 and I was sitting in the middle of the classroom, eyes wide open as I started intently as the class is shown money from another country. The money was from France. I remember thinking, "wow, look at the colors and the different pictures; it is so different from our money." But wait, not only did she have French money, Ms. Monarch was teaching us to speak French. "Parle vous Francais," Ms Monarch said. I was like, "What?" Then she said, "It means, do you speak French?" She then stated, "the answer would be no." We all laughed, but she continued to teach us more French, like the numbers, letters and a few short phrases. We learned our last phrase, "Oui, je parle Francais un peu", which means; yes I speak French a little. I have to say I was an amazed 5th grader. At that time I never would have dreamed I would have the opportunity to travel to another coutnry. As I grew older and wiser, I had the chance to travel to Europe. I was in France when I had a laugh out loud moment, because after the 27 years later I recalled some of the French I learned in the 5th grade, at which moment I reflected on Ms. Monarch. I was able to blurt out with confidence, "Oui je parle Francais un peu", and I do have to admit that after that, everything else was lost in translation. We had lots of fun in Ms. Monarch's class. We laughed, we played, we learned, we went on field trips and she gave her students a reason to want to come to class the next day. One of the reasons for me was "Brownies", and no she would not bring in brownies. I am talking about the ones from the Woolworth department store downtown. I'm sure we all remember the Woolworth lunch counter, and underneath the glass cover was some of the best brownies you ever put in your mouth. Chocolate moist brownies wtih nuts and frosting, mmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Ms. Monarch would sometimes give our prizes for different things. I remember winning $.50 cents and was able to buy 1/2 dozen brownies. Not just the little squares like they sell today, I'm talking about the brownies that were the size of your hand. Yes, it wasn't just the prizes and incentives that made you want to come to class. It was the teacher, Ms. Monarch. Although those brownies ran a close second, yes, they were that good. Even though I never got into trouble in her class, she had to be a discplinarian as well. I can still picture the oddly shaped piece of wood hanging around the desk and the look on the kid's face who was asked to pick it up and step into the hallway. She would pick up that long piece of wood wiht hold drilled throughout the board and exit to the hallway. The next thing we heard was a swat and a yelp. Even after a paddling, she
22: was still loved. She was the kind of teacher that made it hard for you to stay mad. Ms. Monarch was an exciting teacher. She mad learning fun and showed genuine interest in her students. By getting to know her students and their parents made her a more hands on teacher. Even to this day my mother will call me and say, "Ms. Monarch asked about you." After all these years, I feel it is such a blessing to have been able to stay in contact with such a great teacher and wonderul person. Ms. Monarch, you will always be Ms. Monarch to me, may you continue to bless and be an inspiration to all of those who will cross your path. Always my best, John Edward Rowan, Class of '75 Goodloe Elementary School | Mrs. Rone, You are a wonderful teacher! Thank you for all the work you give all your students from the beginning to the end, and my kids, Jeanette and John. May God bless you on your retirement. Josephine Rowan
23: The Estes Years
29: One thing that made me laugh when Jill was at Estes as the "Resource Person", which I think was the precusor to all the resource centers in the state, Jill had a child who I think was in the first grade. I'm not sure what the reason was, but Jill picked her up every morning and brought her to school. The child had an older sister who didn't go to school. This child, every day, would say, "I can't wait until I'm through with school and I can sleep late every day like my sister." Jill would tell her that she was very smart and very creative and it was certain that she would go to college when she finished high school. Finally the child began saying, "I can't wait until I am out of college so I can sleep late like my big sister." I guess you take progress in whatever form it comes! Barbara | I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Jill Rone for better than 15 years. Many people have crossed my way but none as special as Jill. She was a wonderful educator but as a person she was more than that. Jill cared for me as an administrator for OPS but also she was a personal contact for me when I was so sick with pancreatitis that my wife and I did not know how or what to do. Mrs. Rone was more like my second Mother as she cared for me from her heart. I understand that Dr. Rone is retiring and I am very happy for her and her family. I know you will fill her position but you will never get anyone like Jill Rone, GOD only made one Jill. Larry Shrout
43: Jennie, Sandy and I were reminiscing about when you were Principal at Estes. We remember the day you showed up with a package of reading glasses from Sam’s. You wanted to be prepared in case you laid your glasses down somewhere in the building which you were doing daily. By the end of the school year we joked that your glasses were all over the building and they probably were in every classroom. You always had such a good humor about everything. Also, Lisa and I were laughing about the time we kept getting headaches in the office at the end of the day. We figured out it was because you were using Ciara perfume before you helped with dismissal. We asked you jokingly not to wear it any longer because it was killing us. A few weeks after you moved to Central Office I was in the bathroom one day and opened the cabinet door. Guess what I found? The bottle of Ciara with a note willing the perfume to Lisa and me was sitting right there on the bottom shelf. When I showed Lisa we laughed so hard we cried! We really had some good times at Estes over the years. I haven’t seen you as often as I would have liked at Central Office with our offices on opposite ends of the hallway, but I still looked forward to your humor and Godly presence in the building every day. Your presence will be missed but I will always have fond memories of our times together over the years. Your friend, Karin
45: HIGHLY SKILLED EDUCATOR
46: I am so happy for you!! What a class act you are Jill Rone! I think about the many children and adults that you have touched in such positive ways. Your legacy will continue to grow. You are an amazing person. I count it a blessing that God allowed our paths to cross! Please keep in touch. I pray that God keep you strong, healthy and that you enjoy this next chapter in your life. -Marion Sowders | Jill, Marion expresses my thoughts so well. I will never forget the day I did your site visit. You, your staff and your students created the most impressive school I have ever visited. You and your staff will have a special place in heaven. The care and concern provided for children with so little will gather around you someday in heaven and share with you how you changed their lives and the lives of their children. I know you will find ways to use you wonderful talents during your “retirement.” Please keep in touch. Connie
47: Jill, this verse was in my devotion this morning and you instantly came to mind. You always seek the heart of the person and that is what is revealed in you. You are precious in His sight. Love you, Re Nea Peter 3:3-4, "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (ESV)
48: Thank you for helping me think BIG PICTURE! -Kathy Evanko
51: Assistant Superintendent of Instruction: The Central Office Years
53: Dear Jill, I have started this letter at least five times. It is difficult to say what and how I really feel. So, I am going to keep it short and to the point. I will miss your laughter. I will miss your sense of humor. I will miss your wisdom. I will miss your kindness. I will miss our conversations. I will miss our lunches. I will miss our silliness. I will miss your insight. I will miss your advice. I will miss learning from you. I will miss listening to you. I will miss the house plans. I will miss hearing about the boat rides and girls. I will miss you in your office. I will miss your spiritual insight. I will miss so much about you. I will just miss you. Friends always and forever, Lisa McCarty
54: Dear Jill, I have tried so many times to find the words to express how much I have enjoyed having you as my boss, mentor, and friend - I am not sure I can find the right words but here it goes. First, I want to thank you for all you have done for each and every student in our district during your career. You have touched countless lives by the careful decisions that you have made each day. One of the many things I admire about you is that you so clearly love kids and have always been willing to put in the extra hours and make the hard decisions in order to help make a child successful. I especially appreciate your love for our kids with special needs and the support you have given our Special Education Department. We have always had a sense of comfort knowing that you are in our corner. Second, thank you for being such a wonderful role model and trusted mentor. You have an amazing positive attitude and always treat others with sincere respect and kindness. It has been an honor to work under you and to learn under your guidance. I will always strive to have that same positive attitude and treat others in the same respectful manner. I once heard a sermon which had a profound impact on me in which the pastor asked “Do others see Jesus in you?” - You are no doubt are a person that others see Jesus in each and every day. I also just want to thank you for being my friend. I will always value our friendship and hope that it will continue long beyond your retirement. I will miss our early morning greetings and late afternoon visits that lasted long after everyone else left but know that you are welcome for a visit any time. You have touched my life in more ways than I can express – thanks for being you! All my love & best wishes, Kim Johnson
55: I became acquainted with Jill Rone when I first became a member of the Board of Education. I have watched her as a teacher, Principal, distinguished educator and now as Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. Many people have taken up residence in that office aver the years. None have done it with so much grace, common sense and knowledge. She is truly respected by the teachers and principals in our district and therefore has been able to be a great resource and a terrific advocate for them. Her shoes will be hard to fill and we will miss her always positive attitude and spin on the most difficult of situations. Jill made us see and hope for the best in everything. Nancy Eskridge Chair, Owensboro Board of Education
56: The thing that most impresses me about Jill Rone is that she never speaks badly of anyone. She is so kind hearted and exhibits a Christian spirit in her words and deeds. Her kind smile and the twinkle in eyes are heartwarming-her concern is always for the well-being of others. Jill is a person who works very hard to make others feel good about themselves. I will always admire the spirit she exhibited while going through cancer treatment. She is an inspiration-a true Christian lady. Julie Ellis | I knew you were special, but this was confirmed on a board meeting night a few years back (so I wouldn't feel left-out) the gift of crystal candlesticks put you "over-the-top"! Thank you, Lynn Holland | Although I have only been here for a year, I am going to miss Jill tremendously. I have never once felt like I couldn't call her about anything. She has been a true mentor to me at a time when I have much needed one. Her most outstanding quality is her ability to listen and keep conversations conidential. She truly wants what's best for the kids of OPS. There is no way that she will ever know how much she has helped me this year. George Powell
58: Last Day at OPS.
60: Dear Mom, teacher, principal, HSE, Asst. Supt., I am so proud of you. God has given you so many special qualities that have enabled you to reach out to so many children. I have always been amazed at your work ethic and dedication to your profession. God was truly looking out for me when he put you in my life. Love Dad
61: Mom, As my mother, you have been my primary teacher in life. And you have taught me so much. I want to take this particular moment to tell you how much you have taught me about working in this world. Although you often like to teach me with words , you have actually been such a powerful teacher in my life because of your example. As you know, when I first learned we were going to work together, I was very hesitant. I was not sure how our mother-daughter relationship would play out in a professional setting. Very shortly after we began working together, however, I realized that working with you was going to be one of the greatest blessings of my life. Working with you has allowed me to see a side of you I would never have seen otherwise. I was able to see my mother – the consummate professional, in a place where her impeccable reputation always preceded her, and where she was always the most respected woman in the room. All this deference, I realized, had been earned based on a career spanning more than a quarter of a century. It was result not only of your knowledge and expertise, but a result of your incomparable professionalism – your unwavering work ethic, your steadfast courage and integrity, your unceasing humility, and your firm commitment to always doing the very best job that you could possibly do. When I think of your professional standing and, as this book reflects, all that you have achieved in your career, I am humbly overwhelmed and so immensely proud to be your daughter. And, I just know, that in this area of your life, God must once again be proudly proclaiming to his angels and whispering to your heart, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I love you so much, Mom, but I also deeply respect who you are and all that you have accomplished in your career. It is my constant prayer that one day I will be able to look back and think that I was able to take God’s blessing of the opportunity for service and work and bear as much fruit you have. One day, I hope God will also be able to say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servantYou learned well from your Mother.” I can only imagine what God, our Father, who has you in the palm of His hand, has in store for you in this next season of your life ! With all my love, respect, and esteem, Your humbled daughter, Robyn
62: Mom, What a pleasure and blessing it has been to watch you touch so many lives through your years in education. I can remember riding in the brown van through the projects by Estes so that you could check on students and their families. I remember knowing that the neighborhood was not very safe, but feeling at ease because you were. You knew so many of the kids there and they obviously loved seeing you. I remember working at the Readifest – sweeping up hair at the haircut station, handing out school supplies. I have a compassion for those handed a difficult hand in life, and I think that is rooted in the things I saw through your career at Estes. I know there are hundreds of lives that are better because of Jesus’ work through you. He must smile at the work of your hands. What a wonderful, blessed career. Your work ethic, compassion, and Godly focus have been such a wonderful example for me. Thank you for that. You are my hero in so many ways, Mom. Praying you know how loved you are. Much, much love, Ash
63: Mom, Looking through all of these letters from the lives you've touched, the accolades and the consistent mentions of dedication, hard work and respect has given me tremendous pride. You know, it's funny, I always really worried about being a mother. I worry because I feel so called by God to the workplace and I fear not giving enough attention or care to my future family. This has truly been a concern of mine for the last five years or so. I have looked at the women around me for an example, but haven't really found one. In reading through these letters I've realized the saying about not being able to see the trees through the forest to be so true! I have always felt at the center of your world and now I see that so many others have too. I think few people can say that they have been completely dedicated to both their family and career. You have. Thank you. You are selfless, faithful and EXCELLENT at what you do, Mom. Your work ethic has deeply impacted my life and helped me to be thankful for being able-bodied to work. I pray to be the Christian example you are--one who truly exemplifies the love of Jesus. I pray that Robyn, Ashley and I carry on the legacy you have created. My life is filled with memories of being in the classroom with your students, many of whom came out to the house, rides with Frenchie (What'd you have for lunch today?), crafts wtih Beth Tong, Readifest, rides through the Projects, etc. I am equally as proud of you becoming principal, onto HSE and your tenure at the Central Office. I am so proud of you. Thank you for being the greatest teacher I've ever had. Love, BB