LENA (WREX) – It is the last day of school for students at Lena Elementary School, and it is a bittersweet end of the year for teacher Joanne Gallagher.
Gallagher is retiring this year, after 8 years as the school’s Title I and Enrichment teacher, and 14 years in other positions in the school. In her current position, she works with students from third, fourth and fifth grade in small groups to help them with math and reading.
The students she works with love that she keeps the balance in the classroom. She gives them rewards like candy and popcorn, but also makes sure they are really improving on their curriculum.
“She helps us read and she made me, she has us do these plays, and she made me develop my reading skills,” 5th Grade Brandon White said.
Gallagher is involved in a lot of school activities as well, such as running book clubs and Stem Days for the school.
“Probably my biggest achievement this year is planning the Stem Days at school, we take a book, and then we create days surrounding that book, we will do activities where they build something, puzzles, just a lot of fun activities to celebrate a book,” Gallagher said.
Student Kaiya Hill said she has a lot of fun during the Stem Days, and students get rewards for their work.
“She just plans a lot of the stuff and she does so much for us, and she’s just a really great teacher,” Hill said.
Gallagher said she loves getting to see her students learn, and all the hugs she gets from them, so her retirement is bittersweet.
“It’s happy and sad. I love my summer vacations, so I am just thinking of it as an extended summer vacation,” she said.
Her students were not shy to say they will miss Gallagher dearly next school year.
“It’s really sad, but hopefully she has a great time, and we’re going to miss her,” Hill said.