School: Greenwood Teacher Retirees (Rodgers/Christie - 1978)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Benson, Rodgers, Killion, Harder, Christie, Kalkofen, Bartels, Fonstad, Pouba, Peterson

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/08/1978

Greenwood Education Retirees (Rodgers/Christie - 1978)

The Greenwood Community Schools’ teachers, officials and friend gathered for a retirement celebration at the American Legion Hall last week Thursday. Wayne Benson was Master of Ceremonies.

Irene Rodgers, the former Irene Killion, began her teaching career the way many dedicated teachers did in 1931-32, by attending the one-year Teacher’s Training Department of the Neillsville High School. It was a time when few of the class were able to obtain a position, but she was one of five in a class of about 28 who got work. Her first school was Prosperity.

Her schools changed from time to time and included Christie, Mack, East Butler, Mound and Sand Hill. It was 1945, when she became the seventh and eighth grade teacher and librarian in the Greenwood system.

In 1943, she was married to Kenneth Rodgers in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. When he returned from the military with a medical discharge, she decided to continue her teaching career.

Continuing her education in evening and Saturday classes, Mrs. Rodgers earned her Bachelor of Education degree and library certificate from UW-Stevens Point.

Reviewing her teaching years, she recalled the fewest pupils on a single day was during a blizzard at Mound School when Rene Harder was the sole pupil. The most was 42 when she came into Greenwood. Her most unusual vacation time was at East Butler, not because of going hunting, but a hunter’s vacation due to flying bullets hitting the schoolhouse.

What does the future hold? Mrs. Rodgers has it planned. High on the list for outdoors will be fishing and rock hunting. Indoors will be knitting, crocheting, and reading with plenty of travel between it all.

She was presented with a coffee service from the group.

Eva Christie, the former Eva Kalkofen, had also received her early teachers training at Neillsville. After her marriage to Eugene Christie, she made her home in Neillsville where they raised three sons.

She taught at Eaton Center and went on to add to her own education by earning a two-year diploma. By 1962, Mrs. Christie had earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in education, followed by her master’s degree in 1969. Her credits were gathered together from Stevens Point, Superior, and Eau Claire.

Her schools included Happy Hollow and Globe before going into the Greenwood system, where she taught in elementary the past 18 years.

Some may remember her during the years before going into full-time teaching, when she worked at the Farmers Store in Neillsville and in Greenwood.

She is looking forward to some fishing, hunting, berry picking and gardening. Together, she and her husband will travel to visit their sons and five grandchildren and in winter go south to visit her brother.

A highlight in her teaching career was returning to Greenwood where she had graduated from high school in 1933 and then working with other teachers she had known in the earlier years.

To enhance her green thumb activities, she was presented with a plant stand.

Returning to Greenwood for the celebration were two former superintendents and wives, Kenneth Bartels of Wautoma, and Clifton Fonstad of Middleton.

The evening celebration included a dinner, a number of musical selections and remarks from the various school officials, including the elementary principal, Charles Pouba, and Michael Peterson, superintendent.



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