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Chester County Press

Editorial: ‘You’ve made a difference’

It takes a village to raise a child.

We all know the saying.

But at a recent meeting of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board, the saying was brought to life as district officials paid tribute to four employees who are retiring.

Ann Ferron is a Patton Middle School art teacher. Brett Culberson is a Patton Middle School custodian. Eva Thomas is a Pocopson Elementary School librarian. Lori Towber is a Patton Middle School paraprofessional. 

Those four, while performing very different duties, all made the school district a better place for students during their combined 109 years of experience.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done,” Sanville said. “You’ve made a difference. You’re leaving us, but you’re leaving us better.”

As school administrators, school board members who have had children in the school district, and even some students took turns sharing glowing tributes to each of the retiring district employees, it became evident how the librarian and the custodian and the paraprofessional and the art teacher helped students on their journeys toward adulthood. They were part of the village that helped raise not hundreds of children, but thousands.

Culberson is popularly known as “Mr. Brett” to thousands of U-CF students who went through the schools. One student fondly recalled how Mr. Brett would help her open her yogurt when she was an elementary school student. He helped keep the schools cleaned and the students a little safer during the challenging days of the pandemic. Culberson is retiring as the head custodian after working for 27 years in the district.

Thomas, a librarian in Unionville-Chadds Ford since 2008, was lauded for her amazing knowledge of children’s literature, her work helping to expand the library into a full media center, and preparing meticulous lessons for the school district’s youngest readers.

Towber started working in the school district as a custodian in 1996. She recalled wanting to be a teacher when she was growing up, and her interest in working with and helping youngsters never went away. She took on a paraprofessional role and then worked as a personal care assistant. Towber was praised for her dependability, loyalty, flexibility, and dedication to students.

Ferron was lauded for her unique ability to connect with students during her career in the school district that goes back to 1986. Thousands of students benefitted from her talents as an educator during that time.

It takes a village to raise a child. A lot of people in that village happen to work in schools.

There are teachers and custodians and librarians and bus drivers and paraprofessionals in Avon Grove, Oxford, and Kennett who also played pivotal roles in helping to raise the child. This is the time of year when some longtime school district employees will be saying farewell. Jeff Hellrung, a member of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board, said, “For me, personally, this is a highlight of board meetings—this season when we celebrate the careers of the retirees. We get to hear their stories and we have a chance to thank them.”

We hope that these four individuals from Unionville and all the other school employees who are retiring enjoy their retirement—and always fondly remember that they made a difference.

SLUG: Editorial March 13