OKEECHOBEE- The Okeechobee County School Board recognized six teachers and staff who will be retiring at the end of the school year.
James Leidy, Rebecca Moore, Donna Kersey, Vivian Boswell, Alicia Greseth, and Debra Taylor were all acknowledged at the May 11 board meeting.
Leidy is a longtime English teacher at Okeechobee High School who began working in the district in 1989 and has 32 years of experience in Okeechobee.
“ I don’t know if there has ever been an ill word spoken of him,” said superintendent Ken Kenworthy. “Anybody who has gone to OHS and had Mr. Leidy as a teacher has raved about him. And that’s not only because of his kind demeanor , but also what he taught them in that class. We appreciate everything you’ve done over the years.”
School board members surprised Leidy by wearing face masks that had his old yearbook pictures printed on them.
“This is where I get to be Bilbo Baggins and this is my birthday,” said Leidy referencing the opening of The Fellowship of the Ring where Bilbo gives a speech during his birthday party and disappears from the Shire. “Some of you in the back may get that reference. You all are family and I greatly appreciate that you put up with me for 32 years. You folks are amazing and I wish all of you the best.”
Donna Kersey has 39 years of experience in Okeechobee schools, starting as a fifth grade teacher in 1982 before moving on to kindergarten and pre-k.
Vivian Boswell was a paraprofessional at Seminole Elementary and is retiring after 11 years of service in the school district.
“It’s been a long journey,” began Boswell. “I have to give honor to God. I feel I made a difference. It takes discipline to raise children, to keep them on that right road. I thank all my colleagues, who are all awesome people. And thank you to Dr. Jackson at Seminole, one of the sweetest people I ever met. Thank you so much.”
Rebecca Moore started in 1986 and has 35 years of experience, all most all of it in kindergarten at Everglades Elementary.
“Been a really tough year,” said Moore. “Couldn’t do some of the things I enjoy. But I started to really enjoy virtual as it went on, especially with parents that are really engaged.”
Alicia Greseth started in 1990 teaching fifth grade at South Elementary, and has 30 years of experience.
“We want to say thank you for all you’ve done for the children of Okeechobee County,” said Kenworthy to Greseth. “I know during those 30 years you have touched hundreds of lives.”
Debra Taylor worked in the transportation department as a bus driver and spent eight years working for the district.