ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — More than 100 Abilene teachers were honored at AISD’s service and retirement awards ceremony Thursday, including two soon-to-be retirees who are leaving the classroom after 40 years.
“Today we celebrate all of the people that have 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 years of service in the district, as well as our individuals that are retiring from AISD,” Superintendent Dr. David Young said at the ceremony.
A total of 142 educators received awards for their long service, but only two of them were marking 40 years with the district.
“That’s something I’ll never achieve. I’m not going to work another 34 years in Abilene, I hate to break it to you,” Dr. Young joked.
Stacy Evans and Lorry Spears came to AISD in 1981.
“The top song was ‘Physical’ by Olivia Newton John, and I’m sure Stacy Evans had that on play on his 8 track in his car,” Said head of AISD communications Lance Flemming.
According to Spears, days like these bring up both memories and realizations.
“I was thinking about that the other day, my very first group of kids was kind of a mixture. And one of them would be 55 years old now. What?” she says.
Classes, kids, and cultures have shifted during her tenure.
“Kids don’t even know what chalk is. An overhead projector, whats that?” Spears says.
Despite the pain of saying goodbye each year, Spears has gladly stayed with AISD, picking up some valuable advice along the way.
“Use your colleagues, work together, stay positive, and remember that this is your ministry. These kids need you,” Spears says.
No matter the subject or the decade, Spears says she sees a timeless curiosity in each and every child.
“Kids are kids, doesn’t matter if it’s in the 80s or now. They still need your love, still need your guidance and they still make me laugh. It’s just a good profession. I love teaching,” she says.
Spears says she’s looking forward to doing more volunteer work. It seems she’s not quite finished giving back to her community.