South says goodbye to two long-time teachers

Delaney Jackson, Assistant Editor-In-Chief

Blue Springs South is saying goodbye to two retiring teachers this year.

English teacher Christine McDowell and theater teacher Susan Cooper are both retiring. Both had pleasant things to say about their time here at South.

“We have this saying here at South, that says ‘It’s a good day to be a Jaguar,’ and every day I have felt that it is a good day to be a jaguar. There are bad days with any job, but I would much rather have been here than any other job I could ever think of doing. Even my worst day here was still better than other things I could have been doing,” Cooper said.

When you leave any job, there will of course be things that you miss. For McDowell, it will be the students.

“Every year we generally start with a whole new group of kids, but in a very short period of time I love them. They’re my kids. It’s hard to leave that kind of a relationship building experience, I will miss that a lot. I will also miss my coworkers, but I won’t miss having to get up really early in the morning and having to grade essays,” McDowell said.

Principal Charlie Belt had high praise to give to each teacher.

“Mrs. McDowell and Mrs. Cooper are two of our longest tenured staff members and have served in a number of ways. They are what we would think of as foundation staff members. They have been here over many years and done a lot of important work teaching. Mrs. McDowell has been department chair for English for years, and has done a lot of leadership and teaching. Mrs. Cooper has done 21 years of leading the theater program and all those productions and all those kids and all those hours which is significant. She has also been department chair and been a leader on our staff. She has been so generous with her time and even travelling the last few years to the freshmen center and teach a class over there first hour. Both are really exceptional people, really great staff members, great teammates and educators, and we’re really going ot miss them,” Belt said.

McDowell has a granddaugter and Cooper has seven grandkids, and both are looking forward to being more involved as grandparents.

“My goal is to be a much more involved grandma and not get up at 5am. Other than that I don’t have any specific plans,” Cooper said.

McDowell will be doing some training over the summer to be able to rock sick babies at Children’s Mercy Hospital.  She also plans on spending some time relaxing.

“ I am going to read, I’m going to relax, I’ll crochet and gardening. Pretty much whatever I want,” McDowell said.

It will be bittersweet for both to leave a place that they have been at for so long.

“It’s a joy to be here. Most days I laugh a lot, I shake my head at “Oh I can’t believe so and so did such and such,” or some kid just makes my day because he or she is goofy. It’s going to be hard to leave, but at the same time I am ready,” McDowell said.