Lynn students celebrate last day of school; teacher wraps up career
LYNN - Lynn Woods Elementary School students did a countdown to summer in Nancy Melanson's fourth grade classroom Friday, letting go with cheers and fist pumps when the clock hit dismissal time, 11:15 a.m.
"It's summer," the students shouted en masse.
As students celebrated the last day of school with laughter and hugs, Melanson celebrated the last day of a career.
"I am retiring - 10 years," she said. "I left teaching then I came back here and was a secretary for six years then I went back into the classroom."
Melanson not only taught but her three children and even her husband attended the tiny neighborhood school as well.
"It's hard," she said of her retirement. "But it was time."
Three years ago Melanson's husband suffered a heart attack and in an amazing twist of fate, when weeks later he needed a transplant it was a colleague who came to the family's aid.
Principal Ellen Fritz said the nephew of one of her kindergarten teachers had been killed and she went to Melanson and offered the family his heart.
"So this school has very special meaning to her," Fritz said with a nod to Melanson.
Melanson said the surgery left her husband visually impaired and she knew at the start of the year that the time had come for her to devote more time to him.
"It's time for a change," she said taking a deep breathe.
Before she could get away, however, parents and even former students stopped by to wish her well bringing flowers, a balloon and lots of hugs.
Angelo Mariano, who will be in the fifth grade next year and therefore is now officially a former student, said he'll miss Melanson.
"She made things fun," he said. "She made teaching things fun."
Samantha Carbone called her retiring teacher awesome and said she loved the games Melanson taught them.
Melanson handed each of her students a gift as they filed out into the summer rain.
"That's not just lip service," Fritz said, nodding to Melanson again. "She is one of the kindest, most generous people you will ever meet."
While the kids sang Melanson's praises they were also itching to get summer started and everyone had a favorite activity to get to.
Mariah Velazquez and Haylee Young were looking forward to a summer of going to the beach and hanging out with their friends. Jesse Anderson couldn't wait to go to Maine, where he said "there is all sorts of fun stuff to do." Kylie Madden said her favorite thing about summer was July 5, her birthday.
"And I like swimming," she added.
Melanson said her favorite part of summer was ice cream while Fritz said she enjoyed staying local and heading to the beach with her kids.
Fritz called the 2010-2011 school year exceptional.
"It's just a great group of parents and a great group of kids," she said. "It's a nice place to send your kids. We have a lot of curb appeal."
Custodian Don Crowell agreed.
Melanson wasn't the only one calling it a career Friday. After 20 years with the Lynn Public School Department Crowell was also dusting off the chalk for the last time.
"Actually, it's just my last day of school," he admitted. "I'm not done until Aug. 19 when I officially retire."
Crowell said the best thing that ever happened to him was being transferred to the Lynn Woods School five years ago.
"This place leaves a mark on you," he said. "I worked in all the big schools and they do more here and with the full support of the parents."
Crowell said he was feeling good about his decision to retire until recently when a group of first graders pointed out they would no longer get to see him every day.
"I started to feel kind of bad," he said. "I was really sad. I will definitely miss the kids."