Straughn bids farewell to long-time employees

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

This week two of Straughn’s longtime staff members’ careers will come to a close, as first grade teacher Vicki Clark and Straughn High School counselor Linda Varner both retire.

Clark has been employed by Straughn Elementary School for 23 years and with Covington County Schools for 26 years.

Before coming to Straughn, she served as a first grade teacher for W.S. Harlan in Lockhart.

According to Clark, the biggest thing she will miss about SES is her students and the camaraderie she felt with her fellow teachers.

“I’m really going to miss the children, their joy, their happiness, all the hugs and the little notes they send,” Clark said. “Also, I’ll miss my fellow first grade teachers. We’ve worked together for more than 20 years and our camaraderie is just like a family to me.”

Clark said that the biggest advantage for SES’s first grade teachers was that there was rarely any conflict between the teachers, and they were always on the same page.

“I’ve been so blessed to work with Covington County Schools,” Clark said. “When I came here to Straughn I was joined with such a great team of first grade teachers. I would say we were just a very strong team, and we worked so well together. There was never any conflicts, and we were all on the same train of thought.”

Clark, whose favorite subject to teach was reading, plans to spend more time with her 2-year old granddaughter as well as sewing more and building a garden, but she will always miss SES.

“I’m going to miss my students but I think I’m going to miss my fellow teachers a whole lot,” Clark said. “They are my sisters.”

SHS counselor Linda Varner is also retiring after 27 years with Covington County Schools.

Varner has worked as SHS’s counselor for 16 years and before that was a speech pathologist for Covington County Schools for 11 years.

“I just liked working with the kids,” Varner said of her love for the job. “I’ll miss the students the most.”

According to Varner, the toughest aspect of her job was making sure her students were on track to graduate, as well as helping students acquire scholarships.

“The biggest thing, for me, has been working with the students on their college choices and making sure they have what they need to graduate,” Varner said.

Varner also said that she will miss most seeing her students’ hard-work pay off with a diploma or scholarship.

“Watching the students when they are awarded their scholarships has been some of my fondest memories of the job,” Varner said. “Seeing that hard work pay off is just so great.”

Varner said that she hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren as well as make more use of her love for baking and sewing as she heads into retirement.