La Porte City Elementary School will honor Sheryl Petersen with a retirement reception at the La Porte City Community Center on Friday, May 1, from 4-6 PM. Petersen, a 1994 recipient of the Gold Star Award for Teaching, taught 39 years in the La Porte City and Union Community School Districts. The public is invited to attend the reception in her honor.

Looking back at a career devoted to La Porte City area elementary students, Petersen had these words to share:

“After graduating from UNI in May of 1976, I started teaching in August of that year. I have been teaching for 39 years-all of those years at La Porte City Elementary School in the same classroom! I started as a transition room teacher for three years. Transition room was a full day classroom for students who had completed kindergarten but weren’t quite ready for first grade. After those three years, I became a first grade teacher and I spent the rest of my career there. I am now the employee who has worked the longest for this district in any position!

“I have seen many changes in my career. I’ve seen many different administrators and teachers. I’ve taught many many students and am now teaching many many second generation students. I haven’t reached third generation students yet! 🙂

“I’ve experienced many changes in curriculum over the years from basal reading groups to whole language to Daily 5 to guided reading; from math workbooks to totally manipulative math to an emphasis on thinking and problem solving. I’ve gone from the days when technology was a record player and an overhead to the days of the first computer (only one for the entire building!) to these days of computers, labs, laptops, iPads….

“I sweltered in the hot hot days of August, September, May and June in a building with no air conditioning but a wall full of windows that opened to let in the outside air and the bugs! Now I am enjoying the geothermal heating and cooling and climate controlled rooms and no unexpected wasps and bees to add some excitement to a classroom.”

“My classroom started with very few materials and furniture and now I feel like I am in the Taj Mahal because I am surrounded with more books and activities to use with my students than I have time for. I am so lucky!”

“Through it all, the one constant has been the students and people of this community! No matter what-the people have been WONDERFUL!!”