Retired educators reminisce at social event

Recent and long-time retired educators reminisce over cake and punch Sunday during a social event put on by the Curry County Association of Educational Retirees at the Holiday Inn. (Staff photo: David Irvin)

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

Jackye Alexander hadn’t been working long in Clovis schools when she met a despondent 9-year-old student named Ruben.

Ruben, she said, had been locked in a closet for nearly a year when she first met him. His motor skills were lacking, and he wouldn’t speak to anyone.

“He had no verbal skills. He had no languages,” she said. “We had to guide him physically to get to his seat.”

But with a bit of tender care and extra attention, Alexander and other special education teachers were able to guide the child into a sense of normalcy, she said, and give him a new outlook on life.

“(I remember) how touching it was to let him become part of the world,” she said. “He developed a lot of skills.”

Alexander recently retired from Sandia Elementary after teaching children in Clovis schools for 34 years. The 55-year-old former school teacher joined with other recent retirees Sunday afternoon to reminisce about their experiences in education at an event put on by the Curry County Association of Educational Retirees.

The association provides ways for retired educators — teachers, secretaries, custodians and others — to maintain social contact with other retirees and enjoy educational, informational and entertaining programs, according to an information sheet provided at the social.

According to Richard Sullinger, who heads up the group, the statewide association also keeps up with legislative issues affecting retired educators.

“(We are) interested in anything transpiring that may affect one way or another people who are retiring,” he said.

Another recent retiree, Bob Hoy, said after 24 years of teaching history and civics at Yucca Junior High, he has learned a lot from his diverse set of students.

“I would ask them to share where they had been,” he said, referring to the wide mix of students Clovis has due to the air base here.

He said one of the joys of teaching is seeing former students go on to be good high school and college students. “And then to have some of these students come back and thank me,” he added.

Hoy hasn’t stopped working, however. After all those years at the junior high school — and besides that, six years teaching night classes at Clovis Community College — the 59-year-old is starting a new career in real estate.
Alexander said she will be taking things a little easier, though.

“I’ll just do what I want to do,” she said.

Orlando Terrazas, who taught Spanish at Clovis High until his recent retirement, thinks the school district really supports its teachers.

“Clovis Municipal Schools have treated me very well,” said Terrazas, who also coached boys track during his 28-year career. “I appreciate what the administration has done for the teachers and the coaches. I want to thank them for it.”

The retired teachers at Sunday’s event will be invited to become part of the association in the fall, which will begin regular meetings again in September. Members will have opportunities throughout the year for training, legislative and retirement workshops, Sullinger said.