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jdOne of the great aspects of St. James Academy is our faculty.  We have talented and inspiring teachers who have dedicated their careers to our school.  After  31 years of teaching here, Mrs. Judy Dawson has decided to retire. Her dedication and commitment to our community will always be remembered. She plans to stay connected with our community. We would like to share below a letter that Mrs. Dawson sent to Mr. Adler.

Please join the SJA community in thanking Mrs. Dawson for her years of service by leaving a comment below.

Dear Mr. Adler,

Mrs. Dawson, Second Grade Teacher at St. James Academy for 31 years It is with very mixed emotions that I am writing this letter of resignation, for what should be one of the happiest moments of my life, is also the most bittersweet. When I started here, I was sure it was only an interim job, to earn a little extra income (all teachers were paid $5,000 in 1983), until my children were older and I could move on. That was five presidents ago! (I include that fact since some have recently assumed that I arrived here during Lincoln’s term in office!)

The world is a far different place that it was in 1983. There were no computers on campus when I arrived, and most of my “dittos” were hand-written. The school consisted of 7 classrooms, 11 teachers, 4 assistants, one secretary, one Headmistress, and one small administrative office.

I have 31 years of happy memories, mixed with some never-to-be forgotten moments. I remember Mr. Ebs teaching PE to classes of 40 children in what we called the Big Hall (now Macdonald Hall). That would have been on Fridays (the only day we had a school nurse), because the other days meant that Music and Art classes were being held there simultaneously, along with a church sewing group (who always brought several questionably friendly dogs), and probably a rehearsal going on the stage for one of our Thursday AM all school assemblies. I remember the actual dog “Chubs,” who was aptly named as he routinely ate 4 to 5 lunches sitting out on the playground. That must have been later, for in the beginning we ate lunch in the classroom, complete with pouring milk for each child (and their frequent complaints that it tasted “funny”!)

I remember when the school was on two floors, and we only had one television and no elevator. I recall laughing when we could hear Paul Phillips singing “Oh I’m cooking sausages for Jesus” from all the way up in the old kitchen on Shrove Tuesday. I remember when “other duties as assigned” included pushing cars through snow-clogged parking lots during car pool (we had no Maintenance crew in the early years), and helping Dr. Legenhausen round up two run-away horses galloping through the driveway with jump ropes tied together. I remember a faculty field trip to the Streetcar Museum, and farewell parties for Jill Ellis and Carl Ortman.

Including math students, I estimate there have been about 700 children who have passed through my life here. I only hope that they have learned half as much from me, as I have learned from them. For each child, of course, there have been the parents; so many wonderful, caring, and generous people, some of whom, over the years, have become my closest friends. And finally, the teachers, a composite group of some of the finest, most dedicated educators it has ever been my privilege to work with. I have such a great respect for my many colleagues, many who have preceded me in moving on from this special place, and many whom I will be sad to leave behind.

Somehow this little temporary job of mine has become my career, and a very large part of my life. I may be leaving St. James Academy, but St. James Academy will never leave me.