Come August, 45 Columbia County school system employees won't endure the buzz of an alarm clock and feel the morning rush of getting ready for school.
The retirees will get to sleep in.
County school officials recognized the system's retiring employees, mostly teachers, at a reception Tuesday at West Lake Country Club.
School board Chairman Wayne Bridges told the impending retirees that a friend once told him there's a bad buzz concerning alarm clocks. His friend said they should be called "opportunity" clocks, because they gave everyone the opportunity to begin a new day.
"You'll now have the opportunity to kick that clock out the door and get up when you want to," he joked.
Although Andy Baumgartner, a former state and national Teacher of the Year, is retiring late this month after 30 years of teaching, most recently in kindergarten classes at Greenbrier Elementary School, he'll continue working in education.
Baumgartner has taken a job with the Bureau of Education and Research, a Washington state-based organization that provides staff development seminars. He will travel the country conducting education-based lectures.
Still, he said, leaving the classroom will be difficult.
"There's no feeling like the one you get teaching kids," he said. "Teaching is what I am. It's what I do."
Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price recognized the mixed emotions pervading the assembly and said the retirees can all take satisfaction in knowing they made a difference.
"Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'The reward of a thing well done is to have done it,'" Price said. "A pretty simple statement, but apropos for today."
Associate Superintendent Charles Nagle had advice for anyone dreading retirement.
"When you're reminiscing about where you are at your age, and you want to go back to your youth, think about algebra," he quipped.
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