By Greta Sowles
It is no secret that the veteran educators in District 110 are some of the very best and most respected. At the end of the 2012-13 school year, there were five notable educators who retired. All combined, these individuals taught for almost 130 years in Waconia.
Roxanne Hilfers began her career in Waconia after being hired by Jim Kovaleski in 1973 at Southview Elementary School. On June 6, she celebrated the completion of her 40th year of teaching. While Hilfers will cherish her recognition at the School Board meeting on May 14 and a party given in her honor by Southview on June 3, she will miss some of the simple things most, like seeing all of the kids many times a day.
“I greeted them each morning during the lunch line and again at dismissal,” said Hilfers, who added that she will miss doing all of the copying and laminating every day.
Hilfers has no specific plans for retirement but knows for sure that she would like to spend time with her husband Kevin and her son Ryan and his special friend, Anna. She also wants to travel to her hometown of Fulda to visit her Mother.
“I want to take some vacations which require an airplane ride,” said Hilfers. Some places she is interested in visiting include Branson, Mo., or Seattle, Wash.
In a final statement, Hilfers expressed her gratitude to all District 110 administrators, staff, parents and students for her 40 great years. “I will never forget the wonderful memories that you gave me,” she said. “God bless you all.”
Lois Jones moved to Waconia with her son Randy, his wife Debbie and their son Eric. Randy and Debbie were looking for a good school for Eric, and Jones was looking for something different after working at J.C. Penney for 25 years. Both Jones and Eric started at Kids’ Company that fall. After 14 years, both her and her Eric will be leaving at the same time – Eric for more schooling and Jones to catch up with old friends and travel.
Through her years at Kids’ Company, Jones has really seen the program grow, saying that there have been “many new changes for continually updating day-care for always the best programs for parents and the children.”
Jones will miss the St. Boni kids and their parents and would like to give special recognition to her associates Jenny, Tiffany and Julie for their support and caring attitudes.
“Kids have active imaginations and can make absolutely anything out of cardboard and masking tape,” she said. Some of these cardboard crafts include birds and bird houses, rockets, robots, TVs, computers, phones, board games, Hot wheel downhill runs and Halloween houses.
Overall Jones wanted to emphasize that the kids were fantastic.
Monica Vierling-Hall spent 13 years as a secretary to Principal Mark Frederickson. Vierling-Hall said that work for her was “a home away from home.”
“Administration, faculty, and staff — everyone has been a joy to work with,” said Vierling-Hall.
In addition to this, Vierling-Hall enjoyed the variation during the school year, whether that was Homecoming, graduation or parent-teacher conferences. There was “always different expectations and different scenarios.”
Vierling-Hall has a special spot in her heart for the unique learner students, who helped her slide morning announcements under teachers’ doors and helped her with preparations for the graduation ceremony.
“They’ve been incredible,” she said.
Vierling-Hall’s retirement comes on more of a “need” basis, as she plans to be around to help her father through some memory issues he is having. She also plans to enjoy time with her husband.
Vierling-Hall highlighted her thankfulness for always feeling welcomed by the Waconia community.
In addition to Hilfers, Jones and Vierling-Hall, Marlene Wagner and Mark Torborg are retiring after spending their entire careers in Waconia. Wagner worked with ECFE and was a learning resource teacher. She also taught third and fourth grade at Bayview Elementary School. In total, she spent 19 years at Waconia. Torborg retired after 43 years of teaching Language Arts at Waconia High School.