The Columbia County school system Tuesday honored 70 employees who are retiring at the end of the school year with a reception at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
Retirees included Phyllis Means, the director of elementary-school student learning, who boasted the longest tenure in education with 40 years.
Superintendent Charles Nagle told the retirees that, as baby boomers, they had lived through a number of memorable events.
He said baby boomers have become caretakers for "parents who are living longer" and for "children who have found out that they can go to college longer than four years.
"We are now the sandwich generation," said Nagle.
As teens and young adults, he said, the retiring teachers witnessed the introduction of color television, bell-bottom pants, the Vietnam Conflict, the Sputnik launch and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon.
In addition, he said, the teachers presided over school changes such as the installation of cameras and metal detectors in school buildings, which were brought about by the deadly shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in 1999.
He also said the teachers had brightened the future for countless young people.
"It's a great time in your life," Nagle said. "But please reflect on what you have done because the lives that you have affected are many."
Regina Buccafusco, the school board chairwoman, told the teachers that they had played an important role by serving as mentors for their peers.
"This is such a family. This is such a wonderful team," she said.
The teachers also saw some Columbia County students in action.
Members of the Harlem High School drama club performed parts of Oklahoma at the reception.
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