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Coleman Elementary Reunites Retired Faculty

At a special get together, those who worked at Coleman Elementary and have retired meet to share memories.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It's a time for coffee and conversation.

A little food and a little fellowship.

Hellos and hugs.

Teachers and staffers that have retired from Coleman Elementary School reunite in the cafeteria before school.

"We're like a big family," said school counselor Brenda Smith.  "It's always good to see family come back home."

Some flip through a memory book, remembering this place was once Hawthorne Elementary School. The name changed to Coleman in 1990.

The reunion is the brainchild of faculty who embrace the family environment at this school.

"We want our heritage to stay at Coleman," Smith said.  "So when the new students come in, they'll know it was called Hawthorne, and they'll know we value its history."

The idea parallels a prior event, celebrating the life and work of Patty Roach, who passed away a year ago.

Roach had worked at Coleman for thirty years.

And this honors the work of every prior teacher, even those who recently retired, like Julie Houser, a former kindergarten teacher who still substitutes even after her retirement.

"The main thing I miss are my kids, teaching my students," Houser said.  "The fun thing about coming back to substitute is that I get to see all of them that I've had before, and that makes my day."

And at a special assembly children get to meet the retirees, even some who taught their parents.

Mrs. Houser sneaks a few waves to kids who adore her, and in return the children give her a huge applause when she takes the stage.

"It's so fun to come back and see all that," she said.  "It's like my home away from home."

The get together is something everyone involved hopes will become a yearly tradition.

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