Happiness and sadness expressed at county schools retirement celebration

By David Broyles

June 12, 2014

DOBSON — Participants at the Surry County School System’s retirement celebration at Cody Creek Banquet Hall found themselves of two minds Tuesday night as they celebrated the retirees and acknowledged their colleagues’ impending absences.

“I have to be honest with you, as a board (of education) member this is one of the happiest and saddest events for us,” said Board Chairman Earlie Coe. “I’m happy you have reached retirement but I’m sad for our loss of your expertise. You all have good hearts. I want you two know on behalf of the Board of Education I appreciate what you have done for our kids.”

He noted outgoing board members Sue Stone (36 years experience) and Vice Chairman Brian Gates (12 years) would be among those not returning in the next school year.

The Surry Central High School Chorus further set the tone for the evening with songs including “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, “A Whole New World” and “Seize the Day” from Disney’s movie “Newsies.” The group closed out their performance with a traditional blessing wishing “the road would rise to meet you and may the wind always be at your back.”

Gates told the participants the combined experience of the retirees amounted to more than 765 years and joked his getting older had nothing to do with the fact he felt the retirees are looking younger.

“There are a lot of perks to being a superintendent,” said Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves. “The best part of Surry County Schools is once you are in the family, you are in the family. It’s bittersweet to come together for this and we have a short summer this year so we have to get to work. I can’t begin to think about the amount of change you have seen in your careers. Tonight is about all of us being family and one one team and its about children. We will miss you. You have poured your heart and soul into our schools.”

Reeves said the 36 retirees touched virtually all aspects of the system. He said education takes every person in the system working together to do the best for students and urged the retirees to “stay connected to Surry County Schools” by volunteering. He also recognized the sacrifice and support of the families of the retirees which allowed them to do their best for students.

The retirees recognized, and their years of service with Surry County Schools were:

Emily Antonecchia, 11 years; Carol Atkins, 31 years; Diane Beane, 30 years; Katie Bolick, 28 years; Sharon Boyd, 12 years; Jackie Collins, 29 years; Katharine Cooke, 14 years; Jamie Dearmin, 26 years; Dena Dollyhigh, 18 years; Jan Epperson, 18 years; Donna Estes, 25 years; Judy Evans, 27 years; Donna Fowler, 37 years; Scharlett Griffin, 14 years; Greg High, 30 years and Diane Hodgin, 24 years.

Peggy Holder, 25 years; Marilyn Hudson, 20 years; Barbara Iroler, 19 years; Becky Johnson, 19 years; Brenda Kern, 20 years; Camarra Kidd, 29 years; Effie Lowe, 23 years; Betsy Manieri, 14 years; Rebecca Martin, 20 years; Allison McMillian, 32 years; Wanda Mitchell, 26 years; Terri Mosley, 25 years; Judy O’Neal, 11 years; Susan Overby, 25 years’ Frank Pelligrini, 28 years; Joyce Prince, 14 years; Greg Quesinberry, 8 years; Audrey Riggs, 8 years; Joyce Simmons, 5 years and Joy Swann, 20 years.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1950 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.