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A ?Last? First Day of School

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It's the first day of school for the Tea Area School District. Thursday morning the doors opened again welcoming students into the building for yet another year. But for one teacher, this year will be extra special.

For 40 years, Ms. Donley has been enjoying her first day of school. But this one is a little different. It’s her ‘first’ last day.

“It’s something I think will really miss,” said Ms. Mary Donley.

Twenty-one kids march into Ms. Donley’s classroom the first day of school, probably not aware they will be her last class.

“I love the first day of getting to know the kids. You just get excited for the day,” said Donley.

Teaching in Tea for 35 years, she's taught a variety from social studies to reading, but she says the most fun she's had is seeing her students progress from year to year.  

"What I love seeing is the growth and progression of the kids throughout the year. I love when the kids come back and talk to you years later,” said Donley.

As she reads the book Shiloh to her class, she says she enjoys knowing that she will somehow have an impact in these 21 lives.

“(I like) knowing that I’m involved in their growth and making a difference in their lives at some point,” said Donley.

As any teacher will tell you, patience is the key to success. With four decades in the classroom, it’s something she's had to learn and teach.
“I can't imagine doing anything else for the last 40 years. I don't know if everyone is fortunate enough to say that they've enjoyed every bit of what they've done,” said Donley.

After retirement, Ms. Donley is planning to sub here and there so she can still keep an eye on her students.
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