SPS retirees honored during annual banquet

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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It was an evening to thank those who have served Suffolk Public Schools as they mark the next chapter of their lives: retirement.

The school division held its 2024 Annual Retirement Dinner on Thursday, May 30, at Florence Bowser Elementary School to honor and recognize 56 retiring educators and school staff as they head toward restful and relaxing days in their lives. Guests for the evening included SPS Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III, SPS School Board Chair Karen Jenkins, and both Board Members Dr. Judith Brooks-Buck and Dr. Dawn Marie Brittingham. Director of Human Resources Dr. Jessica Avery opened the dinner by giving thanks to the retirees in the audience. 

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“This celebration is a testament to your tireless dedication, unwavering commitment, and profound impact in the lives of our students and the fabric of our community,” Avery said. “ … As you step into retirement, let us remember the profound impact you have in shaping the leaders, thinkers and innovators of tomorrow. Your work has laid the foundation for a brighter future for all of us.”

Gordon also thanked retirees for their work for the school division.

“ … I just want to thank you for everything that you’ve done for our kids. You have helped to shape the future, you have helped to shape the city and you have done a tremendous job in making sure that our kids are staying safe,” Gordon said. “They come to school each and every day and you taught them to the best of your ability. But most importantly, you supported them to become the grown people they will soon become for the rest of their lives. So thank you for everything that you’ve done for Suffolk Public Schools.”

Commenting on the dinner, Jenkins says she felt “joy and sadness” in honoring the longtime SPS contributors. 

“Because this is history. As you know, we have someone that has been here for 70 years, and I knew him ever since I was a little, teeny girl. He used to work with my mom at the hospital,” Jenkins said. 

Jenkins shared her excitement for celebrating the retirees while also noting the importance of living life during retirement.

“As I have told many today, ‘Now that you’re retiring, have fun! Carry on with the other part of your life and have fun. Don’t sit home and don’t do anything, or I’ll have to call them back to work,” Jenkins said with a laugh.