Humbolt teacher says farewell after 28 years

<p>Vicki McClenahen, cutting a cake, is surrounded by friends and co-workers during a retirement party held in her honor at Peggy Murphy's Canyon City home. Behind her are from left, Caroline Colson, Joan Hopper and Sherry Feiger.</p>

CANYON CITY – Fondly known by students as “Mrs. M,” first-grade teacher Vicki McClenahen retired from Humbolt Elementary School this year after 28 years with Grant School District No. 3.

Forty friends and co-workers attended a retirement party held in her honor at the home of Humbolt teacher Peggy Murphy.

Many of her former students likely remember her passion for science and music – she would often play the piano or guitar and sing with her class. Over the years, she taught junior first, first, second and third.

Humbolt Principal Monty Nash noted at that all of his daughters had her as a teacher and enjoyed learning from her.

One of the first memories he has of McClenahen was a fun experience one of his girls had on a bird-watching class field trip.

“It wasn’t just reading, writing and arithmetic,” he said.

“She’s excited about moving on,” he added. “I’m excited for her, and we’ll all miss her.”

McClenahen plans to sell her Prairie City home and move to Boise, Idaho, to live near her daughter’s family, which includes two young grandsons. Her son’s family in Massachusetts includes two grandchildren “with another one on the way.”

“Enjoying time with grandchildren is something that I have not been able to do,” she said. “I’ll also do a lot of traveling, reading and enjoying musical pursuits.”

At her retirement party, McClenahen said she will especially miss the exhilaration of teaching a lesson well; singing “Ghost Riders in the Sky” (a class favorite) “one more time”; the hugs love notes, handmade gifts and simple drawings from students; and celebrating victories and achievements.

“Most of us know that teaching is one of the most time-consuming, challenging, exhausting careers in the world,” she said. “It is also the most rewarding. Children give us much more than we give back to them: enthusiasm for life and learning and their unconditional love.”

“I want to thank all of my former students, and the parents of District 3 for allowing me to be such an important part of their children’s lives over the past 28 years,” she concluded.

She later noted that being a teacher was more than just a job to her.

“It’s who you become,” she said.

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