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Ice cream social helps students part with beloved teacher

May 21, 2014 - By Katie Winkler

Review Staff Writer

Cheryl Hess, second grade teacher at Carpenter Elementary, will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Carpenter's Parent Teacher Council arranged an ice cream social last Wednesday to honor Hess. Past and present students and parents attended, along with Hess's colleagues.

Hess started at Carpenter when they became a year-round school, and has been there ever since. Before Carpenter, she taught at a school in Toledo Ohio, Pine Tree and Webber.

"She's influenced Carpenter just by her genuine caring for the school and the community. She can often be found attending events of her former students, and current students. She teaches inner-session and teaches a different grade other than second so that she can get to know other students," Principal Kerri Anderson said. "She is just a really big piece of our school that is going to be dearly missed."

Hess sends out a newsletter to all the parents of students in her class and tries to attend at least one of their extracurricular activities, including soccer games, violin recitals and even birthday parties. Not only does she attend current student's events, but also past students.

"I try to keep in touch with my students. I went to graduation open houses, 12 last year. I live in Lake Orion and I stay connected. I go to a lot of high school sporting events. I like to see where kids are going with their lives," Hess said. "I want the kids to know they're important to me, that I really care what happens to them, and they're a part of my life as much as I hope I am a part of theirs."

Now a fifth-grader at Carpenter, Macey Kneiding enjoyed having Hess as a second grade teacher. Macey's mother, Stephanie Kneiding is a teacher at Carpenter and "aspires to be like her. She is the most dedicated, hard working teacher."

"I think about all the plays we did and the projects, like decorating pumpkins and Easter eggs and making them our own," Macey said. "She came to one of my soccer games and my ice show. She's the only teacher in the school that does plays. She was really fun."

Her dedication has not stopped, even though her teaching career is coming to an end.

According to Anderson, Hess continues to use new and fresh ideas in her classroom to make sure the students learning experience is the best that it can be.

After the remaining weeks of the school year are over, Hess will head to Atlanta to see her daughter deliver her grandbaby, followed by a trip to Florida to visit her other daughter. Then it's off to Mackinac Island for some relaxation with her husband, Jim Hess.

Hess plans to come back to Carpenter to teach inner-session, substitute teach, and volunteer.

"I absolutely love everything about teaching. I love the kids. This is the future in front of me," Hess said.

"People are asking 'how many days do you have left' and I say 'I have no idea; I'm not counting down. I don't want it to end."

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