New Muleshoe ISD teachers started their school year Friday. Returning teachers had their first day Monday. Retired teachers who happen to be Methodists wanted to give them all a positive send-off in this year of the unpredictable.
So a thank-you bag was put together, and teachers were invited to drive by First United Methodist Church at noon on Tuesday’s workday for a smile, a bag, and well-wishes for a successful year.
Julie Cage bought the supplies, Gayla Gear made cookies, and several of us gathered Monday in the church kitchen to assemble the bags. Gayla, Joyce Scott, Gina Mardis, Sandi Chitwood, Jennifer Givens, and Julie filled the bags.
I cut tags and punched holes in them for ribbon. Gayla and Julie helped.
Tags were tied onto bags and ribbon curled.
After much tying and curling, they were all done!
Bags were loaded onto carts for distribution at the back door where the teachers would pick them up.
And then it was time. Gina and one of our new pastors, Angela Carter, were outside to hand out the bags as were Sandi Chitwood and Jennifer Givens.
Joyce Scott stood on the corner of 2nd Street and Avenue E to send traffic down to the alley behind the church where I was standing to direct vehicles where to pick up their bags.
We had set the time for pick-up from 11:30 to 1:00, and Dean Black was the first to come, right on time. Then about 11:45, a line started to form.
More than once the line got stalled when Sandi, Gina and Jennifer enjoyed visiting with the teachers, aides, maintenance staff, and administrators who came for their bags!
And that was part of the pleasure of doing this in the first place, seeing familiar as well as new faces for a quick visit. Like Angela talking to Charlie Reyna from the Maintenance Staff.
I had a quick visit with Cheyenne Cage, Christy Montiel, Nicole Kimball, and Elizabeth Dixon;
Dana Rasco, Angela Reyes, and Dani Heathington.
It was fun for me to chat with some of the veterans that I had taught with, like April Smith, Belinda Head, and John Gulley.
And I really enjoyed seeing some of my former students who chose to go into the field of education, like Dora Diaz, Tommie Stiles, Letti Tovar, and LaTonya Stroud in her cool car!
Marisol Robles, Linda Cogliandro, and Marilee Meiwes walked over from the high school for their bags, seeing the chance to grab a little exercise, too.
And of course there were so many others. Denise Dunham stopped long enough for me to identify a cactus she had blooming. Other former students like Suzanne King showed up, as did a host of new or returning teachers that I did not know, and former students I probably didn’t recognize.
Victoria Bomer, our church youth director who is teaching at the high school, showed up to help us, even though she is not retired yet. Others who contributed but are not pictured include Melba King, Janis Morrison, and Carolyn Johnson.
Some teachers didn’t make it over for their bags, no doubt getting busy and letting the time get away from them-kids are coming the next day and there is much to do before they show up; I remember how that works!- so we took the remaining bags to each campus for those teachers to pick up later.
We do hope these bags and the message that came with them will supply a little respite at those times when things gets hectic. Thank you, teachers and all of you who are meeting the challenges that will come with this new school year.
May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Thanks to Dana Rasco and Julie Cage for their help with this story. And thanks to the retired teachers who helped make this project a reality.