“It’s a pleasure to pause and recognize the many years of service,” Calvert County School Superintendent Jack Smith said at a recent ceremony honoring school system retirees.
Fifty of the 84 retirees in the county attended the June 13 reception at the Rod ’n’ Reel Restaurant in Chesapeake Beach, where they were presented with gifts and gratitude. Each received a plaque, a two-tone watch engraved with the Calvert schools logo and a game card to go to sporting events free of charge.
This year’s retirees have contributed 1,349 years of service, said Victoria Karol, assistant director of human resources for the Calvert public schools.
Smith said he likes to use the word “adventure” to describe the next phase in his colleagues’ lives. “I hope you have just the right amount of adventure, and the right amount of relaxation,” Smith said.
Eugene Karol, president of the Calvert County Board of Education, applauded those in the room for their dedication.
“We’ve come together for a very happy, and very sad, occasion,” he said. “Each of you, in your own way, has helped build this fine education system.”
Andrea Chris Banks, vice principal of Beach Elementary, is retiring after 41 years of service to education.
“Everyone was excited to be there — the recognition and the realization that their service was being acknowledged. I had mixed feelings as I realized that I would no longer be working with many people I have come to appreciate as colleagues and friends,” Banks said in an e-mail.
Banks also said she would miss working and seeing her students. “I have so many fond memories of their curiosity, their learning and their funny comments,” Banks said.
Banks taught in Boston for eight years before moving to Calvert County. She plans to spend her retirement with family, traveling to Europe and Africa, as well as volunteering with Beach Elementary’s chess team.
After a buffet dinner with accompaniment from the Calvert County Players, Eugene Karol read each retiree’s name, along with a message from his or her school.
Sandra Malloy, an instructor from Mount Harmony Elementary, is retiring after 44 years of teaching music education.
“Sandra was known for the patience and kindness she showed each student,” Eugene Karol read.
Patrick Buzzerd, a guidance counselor from Northern Middle School, is retiring after 43 years of service. Buzzerd was affectionately referred to as “a man of few words but great wisdom” and “the man who could walk the hallway in four strides.”
After 31 years, John Hawkins, building services manager at Windy Hill Elementary School, is retiring. He also is a retired member of the 58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Maryland Army National Guard and was deployed six times while at Windy Hill.
“The [Windy Hill Elementary School] staff truly misses John because of his tireless work ethic that he would bring to school every day. He always has a huge smile on his face that contributed to [the school’s] wonderful working environment,” Hawkins’s colleagues wrote.
Called a “living legend,” Benjamin Williams is retiring from Calvert High School after 47 years. Colleagues said Williams was often heard humorously saying, “That was one of my better students.”
Williams taught history at Calvert High School and an anthropology seminar focusing on Celtic and Scottish history and traditions.
After eight years as a special education instructor, Susan Hammond is retiring from Patuxent High School. Hammond’s colleagues said she “is an advocate for her students to learn life skills. . . . She will leave a large void in our building.”
Eugene Karol wished each retiree the best of luck for a happy retirement on behalf of the children, saying, “They’re the most important thing we have.”