12/18/13 South Mebane pays tribute to retirees

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South Mebane Elementary School Principal Rebecca Royal (center) stands with the school’s beloved secretary Jane Love (left) and custodian Shirley King (right) last Thursday. Love and King are retiring this week.

Karen Carter/Mebane Enterprise

South Mebane Elementary School Principal Rebecca Royal (center) stands with the school’s beloved secretary Jane Love (left) and custodian Shirley King (right) last Thursday. Love and King are retiring this week.

South Mebane pays tribute to retirees
By Karen Carer, Enterprise Editor The Mebane Enterprise 12/18/13  
Reprinted with permission.

“Love, Laughter, and Learning,” Principal Rebecca Royal’s motto ever since her first year at South Mebane Elementary School 16 years ago up through today, tells the story of one of the school district’s top performing schools.

Now the three Ls represent a time of joy and sadness as the local school says goodbye to two retirees: Jane Love and Shirley King.

King has worked in the school district 22 years and served as lead custodian and started out as a bus driver at South Mebane; Love has served as the lead secretary for 34 years, including financial treasurer.

Both beloved faces and workers said they will miss their “extended families,” the school and the community they have represented for so long so well.

“She does a lot,” said King about Love, who began her tenure at South Mebane on Nov. 29, 1979.

“Shirley’s a hard worker, said Love.

A very loving school, where there are lots of hugs, King said she will miss those hugs and the support, parents telling her their children are sad.

“Our staff, our parents, our children here at South Mebane are like family,” said Love, “this amazing school with the support of each other and support from the community.”

Love, who probably is the first one folks see when they walk through the door, said the love, laughter, and learning atmosphere starts at the top with their principal as an “amazing leader.”

“You feel the atmosphere the minute you walk through the door,” said Love. “Rebecca’s so positive; you jump on board.”

“They raised me,” said Principal Royal with Love as her secretary and King
as her custodian. “Coming into South Mebane as an assistant principal and then becoming a principal within that year, they helped raise me to become the leader and principal I am today. I’ve never been a principal without them; it will be a new journey.”

Royal spoke about Love and King as exemplary of the culture, fulfilling their roles in educating “our precious children entrusted to us.”

Royal said, “Jane’s the Love in “Love, Laughter, and Learning.’ They truly help that motto become a living motto at SME.

They help make it a living model, creating a culture here of family.”

While not directly responsible for student learning, throughout their tenure here, their roles of custodian and secretary have helped create the environment that positively impacts children’s learning, said Royal.

“The staff is there for you in good times and bad times,” said King. “We can talk to each other about anything, like get me out of this interview.”

Both King and Love will continue to be caretakers of children’s development as King expects to be a grandmother again next March and Love celebrated being a grandmother for the first time on Monday, Dec. 9.

“My reason to retire is to help take care of my grandson Turner Moore while my son-in-law finishes seminary,” said Love. “We’ll bring him back here for hugs ‘cause we’ll miss everyone here.”

When asked by the Enterprise about all the changes King has seen over 22 years and Love over 34 years, King said, “Education, the magnitude of it has changed, with a day packed full of “learning, learning, learning,” no time for naps for children.

With today’s curriculum goals, King and Love said they have the utmost respect for teachers.

“I didn’t realize how much teachers do until I started working with the school system,” said King. “Sometimes teachers are with the kids during the day more than their parents.”

At South Mebane, the staff, teachers, and the parents work together with the principal’s leadership,” said King.

About Love, King said: “Jane and Rebecca have a genuine love, so supportive.” About
Principal Royal, King said: “Rebecca understands, incorporates your family.

She always knows what is going on with staff members and their families. She knows their stories and understands them. She knows each child’s name.”

“She has that gift of loving kindness,” said Love about South Mebane’s principal. “She knows the children’s stories, their families, she remembers them, calls them by name, and has time for them, cares for them.”

“She (Royal) comes in early and is one of the last to leave,” said King.

Laughter plays a big part in the motto with all that love and learning, said King and Love. King talked about Love’s multi-tasking and teased about answering the telephone and the times she’s said “never mind” over the walkie-talkie.

Some folks have come into the office and said they were all having too much fun, but it gets them through the day, said Love.

“Everyday there is a lot to laugh about,” said Love.

“We do laugh a lot. You don’t ever go out of this building without laughter and love and learning.”

“If you’re down when you come in, you’ll be lifted up before you leave,” said King.

“I feel blessed for having been a part of this school for 34 years,” said Love. “I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.”

“We have each other,” said King. “We work things out and Rebecca (Royal) says, we’ll figure that out when I go to her.”

“I thank my husband David for his support and helping me make this transition,” said Love.

“Scottie knows I work hard, is helping me,” said King about her husband.

“The hardest part of retiring is missing everyone,” said King and Love. But since they both live in the community, they are saying: “It’s not goodbye; it’s we’ll see you later.”

Love, laughter and learning carry everyone at South Mebane Elementary in the journey towards “the amazing race” (this year’s theme), the local school to finish in 2013-2014 with another banner year.