Posted on

St. Mary’s teacher touched hundreds of lives

St. Mary’s teacher touched hundreds of lives St. Mary’s teacher touched hundreds of lives

The pandemic and Covid 19 has brought the world we once knew to a stop. Weddings have been postponed or downsized. Graduations have been primarily virtual with only immediate family in attendance. Children’s birthday parties have had limited guests, mostly family with few or any friends.

Traveling farther than a few minutes from home is a distant memory. All life events that are to be celebrated and cherished have become stressful, filled with worry and a little fear over COVID-19.

On Friday, March 13, students went home from school celebrating that the weekend was there, not knowing, that day, was their last in school day. Their school world would be shut down for the rest of the year.

With a new school year in sight, students, parents, teachers, and staff members are all eagerly anticipating that first day of school when all can be together again. School will look a little different with everyone wearing face masks, social distancing, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. There will also be the trepidation of the possibility of schools shutting down and going virtual again.

Some classrooms will look very different because there will be someone missing. All over the country, veteran teachers have made the decision to put the books away and close the classroom door for the last time. March 13 was the last day they saw their students in the classroom, yet no goodbye or thank you was said. One of these retiring teachers is Miss Deb Larsen, from St. Mary’s School in Marathon.

For the past forty- four years, Miss Larsen could be found teaching linking verbs, dangling participles, the difference between compound and complex sentences and the yearly, daunting term paper. By my calculations, it is safe safe to say that Miss Larsen influenced the lives of thirteen hundred plus students.

Miss Larsen has truly had an impact on these students’ hearts, minds, souls, and their use of proper grammar. Many former students have commented that their high school and college English/ writing classes were so much easier because of the skills they learned from Miss Larsen.

Retiring from education is extremely commendable, but to commit 44 years of one’s life to one school and its mission is extraordinary. Miss Larsen was St. Mary’s/ Marathon City historian. She knew the families and their stories. She celebrated the joys in the families’ lives and grieved with their sadness and pain. There is an image often used to describe teachers. The image is a rock thrown into a lake causing ripples to spread out. The ripples represent the impact the teacher had on the world. Miss Larsen never treated a disease, designed a building, represented the innocent in a court of law, taught calculus, created works of art, …… the list goes on. Miss Larsen did not accomplish these things, but her students have. Every student Miss Larsen has taught, has gone out and changed the world in some way or another. Miss Larsen’s impact has not made a ripple, but rather a tsunami!

Miss Larsen and numerous retiring teachers were not given the privilege of a proper goodbye but more importantly, not a deserving thank you. I would like to offer a tremendous thank you to Miss Larsen and all the retiring teachers who committed their lives to making a difference in the hearts and minds of children everywhere. Thank you for changing lives!

Who’s going to fill their shoes?