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Three longtime teachers to retire

by Larry Chowning

The Middlesex County School System has three longtime teachers retiring at the end of the current school year. They are high school English teacher Hugh Scanlan, Title I pre-kindergarten teacher Doris Paige, and Title I kindergarten-grade 2 teacher Lynn Stahling.

Hugh Scanlan
When Scanlan arrived at Middlesex High School in the fall of 1973 there were no computers or internet. Typing was taught on electric typewriters and books were read from pages—not computer screens.

“I’m the last of the original 13 teachers who came into the school system in 1973,” said Scanlan at MHS on Tuesday. “A whole bunch of us came that year. Bill Murray and I were supposed to go out at the same time but he decided to retire last year. John Clements was another one who came that same year. John Durham was the principal back then.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years,” he said. “I think the greatest change is in the maturity of students. Not all, but some, seem to have the maturity of ninth-graders when they graduate. I don’t know what has caused that.”

Recently, Scanlan was selected by his colleagues at MHS as the 2013 MHS Teacher of the Year. “As an English teacher, I have always felt that I have three goals: to help my students become critical thinkers, to make them more competent writers, and to help them understand that true learning is only accomplished by testing their capabilities through trial-and-error development.

“To me, literature and literary history are simply means to an end. They provide models for students to work within their gradual evolution as thinkers and writers,” said Scanlan.

A former student, MHS principal Jeannie White Duke remembers Scanlan from the days she was in his classroom. “Coming back to Middlesex High School to be the principal has been surreal in and of itself, but coming back and having one of your former teachers still working here has been amazing,” she said.

“There is no higher compliment a student can give to a teacher than to remark on the positive experience he had, and Mr. Scanlan has certainly earned those accolades from students for four decades now. His dedication and commitment to MHS and education are remarkable,” said Duke. “He has touched so many lives, mine included. I hope that as one of his former students I have made him proud with what I’m doing now, and I wish him the very best in his retirement. He will most assuredly be missed in the halls of MHS.”

When asked what he plans to do in retirement, he simply answered, “I have absolutely no idea. I’m going to retire first and then see what comes.”

Doris Paige
Mrs. Paige has taught in the elementary school system for over 30 years. “I’ve got two lovely grandchildren who I plan on spending more of my time with,” she said when asked what she will do in retirement. “I want to travel and garden. My husband owns Paige Bus Service in Saluda and I’m going to help out with his business.

Middlesex Elementary School principal Amy Stamm said, “We truly appreciate Mrs. Paige’s dedication, commitment, and service to Middlesex Elementary and to educating the youth of Middlesex County. She has been a major contributor to our school, our community, and to education. We know that she will continue to touch lives in many ways and we wish her the very best that life has to offer.”

Lynn Stahling
Ms. Stahling has been teaching for 31 years, seven in the Suffolk School System and 24 in Middlesex elementary schools. She taught at Wilton Elementary until MES was built in 2003.

“I truly have enjoyed the children,” she said in her last week of school on Monday. “I’m going to sell my house and move to Appomattox to live with my mother, who is elderly.

MES principal Amy Stamm said, “Ms. Stahling has been committed to serving the youth of Middlesex County for many years at Middlesex Elementary. We are grateful for her dedication and commitment to education and our community. We wish Ms. Stahling the very best as she embarks on this new chapter of her life.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 06.12.2013

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