By JUDY SHERIDAN
Debbie Reedy, a retiring kindergarten teacher at Vandagriff Elementary, has no trouble remembering her first day teaching school. She prepared 26 3-foot-tall inflatable letters — one for each letter in the alphabet — and welcomed the same number of happy, bouncy 5-year-olds.
It was a little too close for comfort, she recalls, and pretty much everything else.
“They were hitting them all day long,” she laughed. “I learned a lesson that day.”
In 38 years of teaching, all at Aledo ISD, Reedy, hired in April of 1975, has learned volumes from her hundreds of active, curious students — some the sons and daughters of others she’s instructed.
“Experience says a lot when you’ve taught school,” she said. “Maybe you pick up on needs quicker. Less is more with some. There is the gift of time; every child is not going to learn at the same time.
“But I tell them that every bird flies as high as it can. You cannot compare one against the other.”
Reedy, a tall, attractive 60-year-old, hails from Central Texas. She grew up on a ranch/farm and attended junior college on a basketball scholarship, later graduating from Tarleton State University.
Moving to White Settlement with her husband, Jack, she was shocked by nearby Fort Worth and all the airplane traffic at Carswell Air Force Base.
“I have relatives in this little country town,” Jack offered, and introduced Reedy to Aledo, which she loved.
Charles McAnally was superintendent then, Reedy said, and Willard Stuard was principal of Aledo Elementary, which later became Coder Elementary.
Originally she was hired to teach second grade, she said. She really wanted to teach kindergarten though, and fate intervened.
While attending an in-service five days before school was to start, Reedy was asked to change course when a kindergarten teacher unexpectedly failed to return.
“I had to move to the other end of the hall,” she said. “Ms. Vandagriff mentored me. She was an angel. She helped me.”
In her years as a teacher, Reedy has seen a lot of change, which she embraces because she believes it better prepares students.
“Kids used to learn to print their name and letters, that was the extent of it — now they read and write and do math,” she said.” A lot of it has to do with society and technology.”
She views her job — which she is passionate about — as that of a foundation builder, teaching not only the basic academics, but also the courage to take risks, the intelligence to ask for help and the compassion to help others.
“I tell them, ‘Be nice, be kind, let your love light shine,’” she said. “They learn that we’re a school family that works together.”
Like most kindergarten teachers, Reedy has a little magic at her disposal to accomplish her goals. Students who lose their “power” (manners) must sit in a “power chair” for a few minutes until they get it back. She gets the wiggles out with a special button.
The most satisfying aspect of her job? The “aha” moment.
“I think seeing the light bulb go off — and their bright eyes twinkle — is what I enjoy the most,” she said, “knowing I made a difference.”
The biggest challenge? Meeting all their needs.
“Every child learns differently,” she said, “but every child can learn.”
Reedy is reluctant to say goodbye, but she wants to help an aging mother and a brother who has leukemia.
“I’ve cried a bucket of tears over this decision, but after spring break, my mind was made up,” she said with emotion.
“Then the kids rounded the corner and said, ‘Mrs. Reedy!’ and I knew I wouldn’t be hearing that next year. I will miss their sweetness, their innocence.”
Reedy still plans to be involved, substituting and mentoring students.
“My education journey is not over,” she said.
Reedy’s fellow teacher, Marilyn Bratcher, wrote her a poem in 2002 entitled Mrs. Reedy’s Class, which she treasures.
“These fears of yours are very real, but soon they all will pass,” the second stanza encourages a new kindergarten student. “You’ll find that school is a wonderful place because you’re in Mrs. Reedy’s Class.”
longtime kindergarten teacher to resign
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Ride for Heroes a success
Nearly 1,200 cyclists flooded the roads around East Parker County during Saturday’s 12th annual Moritz Ride for Heroes.
Aledo ISD School Board Place 7 candidates
Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is information gathered from the candidates for the Place 7 Aledo ISD trustee race, Hoyt Harris, James Riley Morrison and Debra Rogers.
Aledo ISD School Board Place 6 candidates
Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is information gathered from the candidates for the Place 6 Aledo ISD trustee race, incumbent David Davis and challenger Farida Goderya.
Callaway gets A+
Anita Callaway, an English teacher at Daniel Ninth Grade Center, was named “Teacher of the Year” during the 2014 Marva Collins Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony held April 15 in the Aledo High School auditorium.
Man dies in Farmer Road crash
A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. April 15 in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.
Fire victims' fund established
Two streets down and hours after many members of the East Parker County community gathered April 5 to present a new home built with donations to the Hancock family, another family in the West Oak subdivision lost their home to a fire and is now in need of support from the community.
Delay adds $56,000 to Aledo Trail project
The long delay in the Aledo Trail downtown couplet, now due to finish in summer instead of spring, will add about $56,000 to the cost of the project, Parker County commissioners learned last week, when they approved a change order upping the contract to around $3.3 million.
Parker County Sheriff's Report March 31-April 11
Theft of property
A deputy was dispatched to 8600 Interstate 20 East, Aledo, in reference to a theft investigation. The 57-year-old male complainant said an unknown suspect stole $1,000 of copper wire from the Sprint tower on the site. A case was made for the theft of property: aluminum, bronze, copper and brass.
East Parker County Calendar of Events
Bearcats ‘N Boots Gala: dinner, auction and entertainment
• 6:30 p.m. at Cendera Center, 3600 Benbrook Highway, Fort Worth.
• Catered by The Wild Mushroom; entertainment by Four Day Weekend.
• Tickets cost $100.
• Benefitting the Aledo ISD Education Foundation
• Title sponsor Buford-Thompson Company.
• For more information, go to aledoef.org.
EXTENSION NEWS: Take a mind vacation
For many of us, every day has some sort of stress associated with it. Whether it is something at home or at work, it seems like there are a million things stressing us out and making us feel overwhelmed.
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