Miss Rosemary Waldron, MA
For her outstanding contributions as an elementary teacher, Rosemary is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame.
During all these years, whether as a Catholic school educator, public school teacher, or in the public private business sector, I have always tried to bring out the best in each individual. I have always tried to encourage my students and my staff to work to their highest potential. I have also tried to encourage them in their career paths.
Rosemary Waldron has taught elementary school in Connecticut and Massachusetts since 1959.
Vicki Strong, SD
For her outstanding contributions as an elementary and middle school teacher, Vicki is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Marjorie Bearden.
Mrs. Strong did teach in a country school, but her career did not start there. One year ago, Mrs. Strong was the homebound teacher-coordinator for our adopted grandson, who was not able to attend his home school for medical reasons. As a professional teacher-coordinator in the Homebound Program, Mrs. Strong was responsible for curricula kindergarten through grade 12.
Mrs. Strong had to work closely with medical professionals, guidance personnel, and the students’ teachers at their home school. It is an exhausting job because teacher-coordinators have a heavy case load which involves traveling and carrying textbooks. Mrs. Strong was also responsible for traveling to students’ homes to provide instruction in elementary, middle school, and high school curricula. She worked with students suffering from a variety of medical difficulties including: broken bones, high school pregnancy, juvenile laryngeal pappilomatosis, and depression. Mrs. Strong demonstrated her love for children by her dedication to their education. She went the “extra mile” to create developmentally appropriate and fun lessons for my grandson as well as other children.
Mrs. Strong was also appointed by United States Senator Daschle and Governor Janklow to serve on the South Dakota Teachers Professional Practices and Standards Commission from 2002-2003. Mrs. Strong has also volunteered at the Literacy Center at Rushmore Mall and at Rapid City Regional Hospital. Among her other honors, Mrs. Strong was also an elementary teacher, taught adjunct at Black Hills State University, and was honored to be nominated for the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame in 1995.
Sister Mary John Lampkin, KY
For her outstanding contributions as a music teacher, Mary is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Joseph P. Petro of Pembroke Pines, Florida.
There are persons who come into our lives and touch our souls. In doing so they leave an indelible mark, which even with time, is not erased. Sr. Mary John Lampkin was one of these teachers. She was my seventh grade teacher who not only led by her words, but also by her example.
As a group, all boys, the class was a real challenge. Sister always expected the best from us and never lost faith in the class. Always treating us with respect, she seemed to have answers to many of life’s questions. When she left at the end of my seventh grade year, I was heart broken.
Today, sister is ninety years old. We have kept in touch through the years. Even today her spirit still lights up my life. I am honored to pay her this tribute.
Pearl Johnson Ekenberg, MN
For her outstanding contributions as a teacher, Pearl is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by J.A. Ekenberg of Richfield, Minnesota.
It’s been two and half years since my mother passed away. I said to myself, “God must have needed a great teacher up there.” I miss her every single day. I didn’t know one single person who didn’t like my parents. My mother taught me many things throughout my life. The most important is honest and caring. My mother used to always say, “I wish I could help ever single person in the world somehow.”
My father really misses her also. They were married sixty-eight and one half years. He just turned ninety-five on September 5, 2005. I’m sure you’d agree that’s pretty amazing. Here is what is really amazing: In all those years of marriage, I never, ever heard them argue or raise their voices.
When it’s all said and done, I hope I can tough someone’s life like my mother did mine. I have a lot to live up to, but I’ll never quit trying. She was the best.
Opal Bray Charlton
Nadine White, CA
For her outstanding contributions as a teacher, Nadine is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Larry Statler and Carolyn Makin of San Jose, California.
Mrs. White’s thirty-five years were filled with boundless love for children of all abilities. From providing “brain food treats” for a hungry child to giving her entire salary to a needy family, Mrs. White always placed her students first.
Nadine White was a teacher and advocate of children in the California school system for thirty-five years.
Mary Mcconnell Hobe, TX
Laura L. Verplanck, FL
For her outstanding contributions as an elementary and kindergarten teacher, Laura is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Southwest Elementary School in Lakeland, Florida.
Laura Verplanck, career educator with 39 and a half years and counting, graduated with her elementary education degree from Michigan State in 1962. She received a masters in “Teaching the Emotionally Disturbed” from the same university in 1966. Mrs. Verplanck’s earliest teaching years began in Arlington Heights, Illinois and East Lansing, Michigan.
She notes that after she moved to Florida with her family, she helped integrate Gainesville schools in 1967. She was selected as one of the first white teachers to teach in an all-black school, before settling in the Lakeland area in 1970 and teaching five years in Mulberry.
Mrs. Verplanck experienced first and second grades prior to nesting in kindergarten in 1973, the very first year that half-day kindergartens were implemented in Polk County.
Mrs. Verplanck transferred to Southwest Elementary in 1975, dedicating all 28 of her 30 kindergarten years (and counting) to South Lakeland community’s youngest learners. She was recognized as Southwest Elementary Teacher of the Year in 1989-1990.
She has lovingly educated over 600 five year olds, building learning foundations, trying shoes, singing the “ABC song,” saying “it’s nap time,” and urging youngsters to be their very best.
The Southwest kindergarten addition, built in 1990, is now dedicated in her name, to represent all that Mrs. Verplanck exemplifies as a master professional educator. All the hard work and care that goes into connecting with each child to help build successful adults, and the collegiality required to promote a quality school environment for our growing children!
Linda Glaser, KS
Jeanette Bigge, CA
For her outstanding contributions as a middle school Social Studies and University Teacher Education Methods teacher, Jeanette is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by J.T. and Martha Sandefur of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Miss Bigge began teaching in a one-room school in the middle of a Kansas wheat field. The four students in that school were privileged to be the first of many hundreds to be influenced by a dynamic and dedicated teacher. In her forty-two years of teaching, Jeanette taught grades kindergarten through high school. The last thirty years of her career were spent at Kansas State Teachers College, which later became Emporia State University. There she taught in the campus laboratory school and university methods classes.
Miss Bigge has been recognized for her outstanding teaching, writing, and research. Her most important contribution may well have been the sincere affection and care that she bestowed on her students. That affection has been returned by hundreds of students and colleagues who remember her as the best teacher they have ever known.
Jeanette Bigge’s students and colleagues remember her as the best teacher they have ever known, and she truly deserves that accolade.
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