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Reception held for 12 Butler County School System retirees

angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com

Over three centuries of service to children and youth were honored Thursday night during a retirement reception for employees of the Butler County Schools System.

A lavish buffet offered fresh fruit, a chocolate fondue pot, crudites, finger sandwiches, tempting desserts and punch to the attendees to enjoy before the program.

Superintendent Mike Looney said the dozen retirees had put in an amazing 301 years of service in Alabama schools, with 240.5 of those years &#8220right here in Butler County.”

&#8220These are the people came, worked hard, stayed in the classroom and conquered,” Looney said.

The retirees included: Gerry Adair, administrative assistant for federal programs, with 32 years of service, 24 in Butler County; Tessie Baugh, CNP worker, with 22 years of service in the county; Janice Daves, assistant principal of Georgiana High, with 41 years of service in Alabama, and 10 years in Butler County; Frances Gardner, bus driver, with 15 years of service in Butler County; Mary Evelyn Edwards, science teacher at Greenville High, with 15 years of service in Alabama, ten years in Butler County; Helen Gewin, gifted teacher at the Center for Advanced Curriculum, 21.5 years of service in Alabama, 19 in Butler County; Brenda Lamb, English teacher at GMS, 16 years of service in Butler County; Lola Lewis, instructional aide, 38 years of service in Butler County; Tommy Monk, history teacher at Georgiana with 27 years in Butler County; John Salter, cooperative education teacher for the district, 25.5 years of service in Alabama and 16.5 years in Butler County; Virginia Stallings, English teacher at Greenville High, 22 years in Alabama and 18 years in Butler County, and Carole Teague, principal of W.O. Parmer with 25 years of service in Butler County.

Those honorees who were present each received a gift from the board and an opportunity to share their thoughts.

&#8220The Lord has really been good to me these 38 years,” Lewis said.

&#8220I have enjoyed my job. What has made it so easy and good is the people I worked with and my principals. I've been blessed. There will be no tears of sadness – just tears of joy.”

Gerry Adair, who was unable to attend the reception, sent this message via Looney: &#8220I am visiting a new citizen of the U.S., my newly arrived granddaughter, Sidney Adair…as I hold Sidney in my arms, I can only pray when she reaches school age, she will have as dedicated teachers and administrators as our school system has.”

Adair added her thanks for the opportunity to serve in the Butler County School System, saying there was one thing she wouldn't miss: &#8220the paperwork.”

Monk said he was &#8220blessed and honored to work at Georgiana High School – so much so I am going back part-time next year.”

The retiring history teacher also remarked on the passing of his friend Dorothy Dunston, a former G'ana High teacher who recently died in a fire.

&#8220She was a very sweet person and very good to help you. I enjoyed working with her and taught several members of her family. I would ask you keep her family in your prayers.”

Salter thanked those in attendance for their show of appreciation to the retirees.

&#8220In 1989, I came to Butler County and GHS. My goal was to establish one of the best cooperative education programs in the state,” Salter said.

&#8220My plea to the board – please spare no effort to keep this great program going. Our kids need it.

I am always running into former students who have done well for themselves.”

Teague said, &#8220Thank you so much for the opportunity to work in Butler County for the past 25 years. I look out tonight and see several former students here, parents and family. I want to thank you so much for everything.”

Edwards, just back from a church mission trip, was lauded by Looney for the dedication she showed in coming to the event.

Following the presentation of gifts, Terry Williams, school board president, gave a hearty &#8220thank you, thank you, thank you” to the honorees.

&#8220Don't be a stranger in our school system. We need you and your abilities in reading, writing, whatever. Let's get together and help our young people to succeed.”