With the close of another school year, three Chawanakee Unified School District employees Kathy Logee, Teresa Vaughn, and Michelle Piotrowski are saying farewell to work and beginning their retirement after a combined 50 years in the district.
"It's exciting anytime people, that have devoted a big portion of their lives to something, retire and are able to enjoy their families and go on to the next phase of lives," said Bob Nelson, Chawanakee superintendent. "It's rewarding to know how many lives they've touched during those years. The great thing about education is the kids are a constant source of happiness."
Logee has been a bus driver for the district off and on for a combined 15 years, making sure children got to school and back home safely.
"The kids are awesome and I just really liked working with them," Logee said. "Especially the last few years ... I really got attached to them. It's the hardest part of leaving."
Logee said she had driven this year's eighth grade class since their third grade year.
"It's so neat to watch them grow and the things they learn and the things they say," Logee said. "It's always something new every year."
Taking the students on field trips was always the highlight of Logee's job.
"It was always fun driving them on field trips cause they were so happy," Logee said.
A mother of three, Logee even drove her own children Reannon, Justin, and Cody to school.
Logee says retiring is bittersweet, but since her husband, Mark, retired last year, they plan to travel, relax, not get up at 4:30 a.m. anymore and catch some games at Spring Valley.
Although Vaughn retired as an instructional assistant, she was also daycare provider and lunch supervisor at Spring Valley for 22 years.
"It's been wonderful," Vaughn said. "I love that district."
Vaughn's husband, Paul, also recently retired from Spring Valley. The Vaughn's children, Sara Wulf and Michael Vaughn, also attended school there.
Vaughn said her dream was always to have children so being able to work with children every day was enjoyable.
"I started out feeling like a surrogate mom and left feeling like a surrogate grandma and was able to start their day off with a smile," Vaughn said.
What Vaughn enjoyed most was working with students who were struggling with reading.
"Dedicating myself to them one-on-one was very special," Vaughn said. "When they accomplished their goal and were able to have success, it was very heartfelt."
Like Logee, Vaughn also looks forward to not getting up so early in the morning and being able to sleep in. She also plans to travel more and spend more time with her grandchildren.
Piotrowski was with the district off and on for 13 years as a teacher's aide and later as a teacher. She worked at Spring Valley as a teacher's aide, then worked as a substitute teacher, and later as an independent study teacher for Chawanakee Academy. Piotrowski also coached mock trial for five years and was involved in Destination Imagination and journalism at academy.
"It was like a family," Piotrowski said. "I enjoyed being on the leading edge of starting an independent study program for the high school. We helped develop and turn into an accredited program and I really enjoyed being part of that and making it happen."
Piotrowski says she has mixed feelings about retiring, but she is looking forward to being able to spend more time with her daughter, Crystal, who will be a senior at Minarets this coming fall. However, she said she will still miss her job.
"I loved my job and working one-on-one with the kids," she said. "They say you don't work a day in life if you love your job and I really loved my job. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to work and grow with the district and I will miss them. "