Two beloved longtime teachers to retire
April 29, 2022
Two of Socastee High’s most loved and lively teachers are retiring at the end of the school year. English teacher Mrs. Patricia Jones, and Math teacher Ms. Peggy Stone are both leaving the school having made a significant impact on their students, as well as their colleagues. Other retirees this year include: Guidance Counselor Suzanne Renfrow, Special Education Teacher Karen Hawkins, Special Education Aide Dorothy Berry, Student Services/Front Desk Administrative Asst. Valerie Burgess, and Data Quality Clerk Rita Edge.
‘School Mom’ Mrs. Jones Will be Missed by English Students
Mrs. Jones has always been a caring and nurturing teacher, calling students “sweetie” and “darlin”, and leaving her door open for students to visit anytime.
Senior Ester Matias had Mrs. Jones as her English 2 teacher during her sophomore year, but can still be found in Mrs. Jones’ room hanging out throughout the day.
“I feel like she became my school mom,” Ester said. “I come in here all of the time to hang out with her and talk to her about my life.”
Ms. Jones (formerly Ms. Martin until October 2020, when she got married) has taught English 30 years overall, and has been at Socastee for the past 9. She spent a number of years working with the reading support program, Reading 180, and also the foundational English reading program, System 44. System 44 specifically offered support to ESOL students that struggled with learning the sounds and letters of the English language.
She said teachers should not look at a student and make assumptions.
“Whether it be about their intelligence, their kindness, their faith or their home life, you have to take the time to get to know that student,” she said. “Every one of our students has some kind of quality that you can find as a teacher.”
Since the beginning of 2020, she has been teaching at HCS Virtual from SHS. Sophomore Carson Port, who had Mrs. Jones as a virtual teacher, said she helped him through struggles with motivation that he faced when starting his freshman year virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mrs. Jones was very gracious and helped me on my assignments whenever I needed it,” he said. “I felt like I could always reach out to her.”
Mrs. Jones is very excited for this next phase in her life will now be channeling her nurturing to her family. Specifically, she looks forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and wants to be available to help out with “grandbaby number four on his way.”
“I told Mr. Rich, ‘I’ve got a new boss,” she said.
Mrs. Jones wants to leave teachers with the advice that “the job isn’t everything.” She wants her colleagues to know that it’s easy to get so wrapped up in work that they forget to enjoy and prioritize their home lives as well.
“Come, enjoy the kids, teach, but go home and enjoy your family too,” she said. “Because you know when the day is done, your home life is very, very important.”
Ms. Stone Takes Upbeat Attitude Into Retirement
After a 37-year teaching career, Ms. Peggy Stone still has only positive things to say about students and staff.
She said she truly loves interacting with the students at Socastee, where she has taught for 27 years, and says that teaching has kept her young.
“Students are a lot of fun,” she said. “They make me laugh every day, and you just have to embrace that.”
Her colleagues also have brought her joy.
“I have worked with such amazing teachers at Socastee for the last 27 years,” she said. “Every year, I learn new stuff.”
Ms. Stone transfers her positive attitude to her students, engaging them with her sense of humor and a fun classroom environment.
Algebra 2 student sophomore Emma Cartner said Ms. Stone uses actions and dances as a learning technique.
“They can be the corniest dances out there, but they actually do help,” Emma said. “One time she made a reference to the Dancing Man emoji because his arms are pointed in the direction of a positive-odd-graph, and that was funny enough to remember for the test.”
However, fun is balanced with a sense of responsibility in Ms. Jones’ class, Emma said, and students face consequences if not on time or on task.
She is willing to work with students who ask for help.
“I definitely feel like she’s a teacher that I could go to something about,” Emma said. “She doesn’t shut people out, and she’s always open to talk to people if they need it.”
Ms. Stone is excited about the next phase in her life, despite not having any specific plans.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself once I retire, but I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
She encourages her students to be open to new things, too.
“Wherever you are, don’t be afraid if your path changes,” she said. “You’ve got to listen to your inner spirit.”