SYCAMORE — Mohawk Local Schools had a trio of teachers retire following this school year, of which two came via two opposite ways, but left feeling the exact same way — by not wanting to have change a thing.
Leaving the Warriors’ school system this year are Terri Davis, Nancy Stover and Deb Lawson.
Lawson most recently taught government, current events and psychology at the high school. Phone calls were not returned for further information.
Davis mentored in several positions throughout her 30.5 years, but taught eighth grade and freshman English, along with School for Success.
“It’s for kids who are struggling and are possibly not going to graduate, unless they can have someone help them get organized or improve their study habits or things like that,” Davis said.
Other courses she taught throughout her tenure at Old Fort, Tiffin junior high and Mohawk beginning in 1984 were special education, seventh grade reading, eighth grade reading and language arts and junior American literature.
Being a Mohawk graduate herself, Davis jumped at the opportunity to teach at her alma mater.
“I had started at Mohawk with my kindergarten class in the basement of the Melmore church,” she said. “I spent some of the elementary teaching career at Melmore and McCutchenville, junior high in Sycamore and then at the high school. I’ve traveled through everything and it’s been excited to teach where I went to school. It’s felt like home. I’ve felt comfortable and welcome.”
After spending more than three decades in the profession, Davis said she would not dream of doing anything else as the kids became her second family.
“One of the greatest things I’ve ever done was teaching because I made it a point to get to know the kids individually as people and not just students,” she said. “I’ve love to bake, so I loved to bring in goodies and challenging them to do better with cookies and cupcakes as rewards. I looked at them as my own kids and a lot of them viewed me as a mom, because they did call me “Mom” a lot. My kids are all grown up, so they became the kids I focused on and who I cared about. I felt like this was a family because we all worked together and helped them learn to give them tools to be successful later on in society.”
Retirement seems to have come at the perfect time for Davis as both her daughter and daughter-in-law are pregnant and expecting in October and November, respectively.
“I’m going to be focusing on family activities and attack my house with spring cleaning activities that I’ve never had time to do,” she said.
Along with spending time with family, other to-do list items are to go camping around the country and “finally reach a book for pleasure, rather than grade papers,” she said.
After spending the past 28 years in the Warriors’ district, Davis said their is some sorrow.
“I’m going to greatly miss what I’ve been doing, because I loved every minute of it,” she said.
While Davis was Mohawk born-and-bread, second grade teacher Stover originally had never even heard of the school.
“I got a call from Mohawk and I’ve never heard of it, didn’t know where it was, but said I would be right there,” she said. “I’m from Findlay, but I just didn’t know the smaller (area) schools.”
Since that call 35 years ago, she has spent every year teaching young Warriors.
After teaching Title I reading for her first year, she transitioned into a learning disabilities teacher for grades 4-6 for the next 15.
“I’ve always wanted to be a second grade teacher ever since I was in the second grade,” Stover said. “Finally the right opening came around. I had waited through first-grade openings, sixth-grade openings, kindergarten, but I wanted second grade. I’ve been teaching second grade for 20 years. I started when my son was in the second grade, so we started second grade together.”
Along the way, a few memories stood out along the way for the mentor.
“One of my first years teaching, I had one of my students hook their beltloops to the flagpole clips and was putting himself up the flagpole,” Stover said. “It was interesting and exciting.
“Just this year leaving school, it was very touching when one of the bus drivers had the kids hold up pieces of paper in the windows, ‘Goodbye Mrs. Stover,’ which was very touching,” she added. “My most memorable student this year was hanging out the window to her waist waving and throwing me kisses saying, ‘Goodbye, Mrs. Stover. We love you.’ That was kind of a nice ending.”
While those are her fondest memories, Stover said she has been told by some former students of their best memory of her.
“I tried to squirt out temper paint and it blew up backwards, coating my entire head, face and clothes in the middle of class time,” she said. “That was a fun day.”
Finished her teaching career, Stover has ambitions to help at the college level.
“I’m hoping to work with Heidelberg University a little bit with their student-teacher program and hoping to do a little bit of observing and being out in the schools and to still have my hands in it a little bit,” Stover said.
She also said she wishes to spend more time with her parents and two children, of which her daughter just became a teacher as well.
While she hopes to still dabble in helping future teachers, she said she will not forget her times at Mohawk.
“It’s mostly just looking back at all those kids, remembering the moments that didn’t mean a whole lot at the time, but when added together, mean so very much,” Stover said. “I wouldn’t have done anything else. I’ve worked with the best teachers and best families. I’ve had a kid and then their kids. You can’t replace those things. Working at a bigger school and making more money wouldn’t have mattered any more than that.”
By PATRICK MASSARA