Two Veteran Staff Reflect on Their Retirements

English teacher, Mrs. Amy Woodward will be missed when she retires on June 30.

English teacher, Mrs. Amy Woodward will be missed when she retires on June 22.

Sylvia Bohan, Veritas Staff

As the school year comes to an end, RHS students and teachers are looking forward to summer vacation to get the rest they need, so that they can  begin another school year in a couple months. Two veteran staff, however, will be extending their vacations as they begin well deserved retirements.

Special Education tutor, Mrs. Sandra Kowalski and English teacher, Mrs. Amy Woodward have decided this will be their last year here at RHS.

Mrs. Woodward who teaches AP juniors, Shakespeare and sophomore English explained her decision to retire this year. “This has been a difficult year, for a long list of reasons. But unlike difficult years I’ve gone through in the past, this time I sometimes felt that my vitality wasn’t equal to the task anymore. When your body starts sending you that kind of signal, you have to listen.”

Mrs. K receives her 30 year plaque from Superintendent of Schools John Retchless and her department chair, Sharon McGonnigal.

Mrs. K receives her 30 year plaque from Superintendent of Schools John Retchless and her department chair, Sharon McGonnigal.

Mrs. Kowalski, known by her students and colleagues as “Special K,” works as a Special Education tutor, and works in a class with regular education teachers in English, math, history, and science. “Day after day I saw her devotion to teaching and her dedication to the students of RHS.  She helped me in my early years here as much as she has helped her students!” Miss Cahill,   English teacher at RHS said.

Mrs. Woodward has been an English teacher at Rockland High School for fourteen years. “Aside from being an excellent English teacher she has organized our Poetry Out Loud competition for the past ten years and also did a fantastic job organizing the school wide Shakespeare Festivals,” Ms. Cahill said.

Retiring has its ups and downs, but one of the ups is what life will bring you now that you’re free.

“I am looking forward to the luxury of time: time to travel, to garden, to play my piano, to read, to be there for a relative or friend who needs my help,”  Mrs. Woodward says.

Spending more time with family is another perk of retirement. “We have a wonderful family which includes six granddaughters.  We will have a lot more time to be with them,” Mrs. Kowalski says.

Of course, leaving the school after working here for so many years will be sad for both teachers. “There are many things I will miss as I leave RHS,” Mrs. Kowalski says. “Working with the students to improve their academic performance  has been the most rewarding aspect of my job.  I love the kids!  I will miss  them the most.”

“I will miss a lot of individuals, but the main thing I’ll miss is the daily company of young people, constantly challenging me to match their energy levels and see the world from their perspective,” Mrs. Woodward said.

Mrs. Woodward’s students will miss her as well.

“Mrs. Woodward was a wonderful teacher to have. Her assignments were always well planned and had purpose and each one taught me something that I honestly believe I can bring with me into adulthood,” says junior Haley Macray, one of Mrs. Woodward’s AP English students, “I feel like I got a lot out of her class. I was well prepared for my AP test and truly believe that I am now a better and more mature writer which I think will only help me in the career I choose to pursue.”

 

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Posted on June 18, 2015, in Features, News. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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