By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The atmosphere was bittersweet Thursday afternoon at the Lee County School District’s annual reception for retiring faculty.
This year, 26 employees will retire from their classrooms.
“We’re losing a ton of valuable experience,” said Superintendent Jimmy Weeks. “Combined, the 26 retirees here have 551 years of experience.”
Teacher Charlotte Vance spent 20 years of her 25-year career in the Lee County district between Verona and Plantersville. For the past eight, she has taught seventh-graders.
“It feels great,” she said. “I’ll miss the kids, but I will still try to stay busy.”
After 28 years in the district, Shannon Elementary teacher Ruby Trice was in shock at having reached the end of her career.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said. “I’m going to miss the kids, the beginning of the year, and seeing how much they’ve grown and learned at the end of the year.”
For now, she plans on helping her husband build their business, and hopes to do a little traveling. To nw teachers, she offers some good advice.
“Work hard and love the kids,” she said. “If you do that, everything else comes on its own.”
Girls’ basketball coach Eddie Moreland is retiring after seven years with the district. He said he is excited to go hunting and fishing with his newfound time, but he will miss coaching.
“The kids keep you on your toes, that’s for sure,” he said. “But you learn to roll with the punches.”
Saltillo Elementary cafeteria worker Inez Ryan started with the district 10 years ago at age 75. She said the only reason she is retiring is because of her recently-undergone open heart therapy.
“I’m really going to miss working with my friends, but I’m going to be doing something,” she said. “I’m not going to stop here.”