With all the graduations we've had over the past week or so, it's sometimes easy to forget those who are the glue and sinew in our educational system - the teachers and staff.
When Estherville Lincoln Central took time to honor seven retirees Wednesday at the high-school cafeteria, it was with humor and pathos - humor for the camaraderie everyone shared and pathos as everyone thought of the times they had shared.
High-school principal Frank Christenson set the tone for the occasion with a literary flair by reading a poem (and quite a good one at that) honoring Sharla Ries.
Then it was on to Sue Guge whom Kris Schlievert recognized for her 36 years of service. "She definitely has gone above and beyond," Schlievert said.
Schlievert also recognized Barb Kabe who first joined the staff as a Chapter I teacher, later Title I.
Schlievert also recognized Betty DeVary, special ed teacher assistant, and Elaine Brehmer who taught second grade for 31 years. "She was always willing to teach the new people," Schlievert said of Bremer.
Superintendent Tara Paul recognized Sandy Sunde, food service director, then Schlievert. "You have given so much time to this district. You will be dearly missed," Paul told Schlievert.
Estherville Lincoln Central Education Association President Lili Jensen also gave special recognition to Brehmer, Guge and Ries for their many years of service to the association.
No words of thanks, though, can probably begin to describe the gratitude students will feel. Probably not now, and maybe not even in five or 10 years, but much later, when they're well into their careers, former ELC students will find a moment in their busy lives to pause and think back of who really made a difference in their lives. Who it was that served as a mentor, or who offered a kind word when one was desperately needed or who offered a smile for no reason at all.
And then, one of these seven faces will appear. And those former students, later middle-aged, will remember.
Yes, they'll remember.
And they'll thank them.