Spending more time with grandchildren and crafting are just a couple of activities on the agenda for two Vilonia School District teachers that are retiring at the end of the school year.
Friends and relatives gathered, Tuesday at Vilonia Elementary School, for a retirement reception for Chere’ Beavers and Paula Campbell. Beavers (32 years), Gifted and Talented teacher and Campbell (29 years), a first grade teacher have more than 60 years of teaching combining their years of service.
Prior to working in the Vilonia School District, Beavers taught in Marshall for 13 years. Campbell began her career in Vilonia teaching second grade. The past 28 years, she has been teaching first grade. She has always taught in the same building at VES and has only moved classrooms three times. She’s been in the one she teaches in now for the past 20 years.
Beavers said she has taught literally thousands of students working with K-12. This year, she said, the number was 260 students.
Her retirement plans, she said, may include working at a craft store and writing a book. She also plans to continue her passion for scrapbooking, collecting Elvis Pressley memorabilia and spending more time with her grandchildren.
A couple of their favorite stories. Several years ago, Beavers recalls she was emotionally touched when a sixth grader told her that she reminded her so much of her mother who had died. Beavers recalls that she was fighting back the tears until the girl said “my mother had thunder thighs too.”
Campbell said she has three grandchildren to keep her busy. Also she has a “small sewing business,” Sew Sassy by Paula and participates in craft shows.
Many students will recall Campbell allowing baby chicks to hatch in her classroom with students being allowed to take one home. However, she may be most remembered by her peers as having memorable experiences on field trips.
“Something always happens to me on field trips,” Campbell said. There was the time when they went to the Pumpkin Patch in Quitman and they couldn’t wake a student up to get off the bus. An ambulance was called and Campbell accompanied the student in an ambulance to Heber Springs. The student didn’t wake up in the ambulance. Campbell was calm on the outside, she said, but freaking out on the inside.
Another field trip, she set out with her class and a couple of parents to take a 25-minute hike. They, somehow, got off the trail and it took them 1 1/2 hours to find their way back to the playground. They encountered a ledge. Ended up pushing children in wheelchairs backward but they made it back intact.
At the Tuesday event, many gathered, memories were shared and a few tears were shed.
Congratulations on your retirement ladies. You will be missed.