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Elementary teacher retires after career of learning, loving

Pat Davis, a first grade teacher at Starr Elementary, will retire after 15 years of teaching in the New Richmond School District. Photo by Jackie Grumish

Retirement is an emotional time for Pat Davis.

At the end of the school year, the 15-year veteran will leave her post as first grade teacher at Starr Elementary to pursue a life of relaxation and traveling.

Davis has taught two different grade levels -- kindergarten and first -- at two different schools -- Starr and Paperjack.

Don't ask her to pick a favorite, because she can't.

"Kindergarten is fun because it's their first experience with school," she said. "It's just fun getting to know them."

First grade is great because it's when the children begin to read, she said.

"First grade is when they really sail," she said. "It's the light bulb moments."

At one point Davis partnered with another teacher and participated in a looping program. That's when classes stay together for two years. The class progresses from kindergarten to first grade but the class and teacher all remain the same.

Davis began teaching 15 years ago after raising her three children and returning to school to earn her degree.

"I love kids and felt I had the ability to give them love and learning," she said.

Her favorite lessons were those that taught about Martin Luther King Day Jr., she said.

"They (the students) are so innocent that they're just appalled that people could treat each other that way," she said.

After 15 years of teaching, Davis has watched some of her former students progress over the years. The Class of 2009 recently graduated a few of those former students.

"This is the third (graduating) class I've had," she said.

Through sports and musical performances, Davis has been able to follow many of her students as they progressed through high school, she said. Many of her former students came back to visit her as graduation neared, simply to reminisce about the past.

After retiring, Davis' plans include traveling, spending more time with her grandchildren and working on projects around the house, she said.

"It's going to be nice to be on my own time now," she said.

Although she's looking forward to relaxing, Davis admitted she won't be able to stay away from teaching.

"I'll certainly do some volunteer work," she said. "I'll probably come back to help with reading. I can't just walk away from it. "

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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