Monday, June 6, 2016
STUDENT LIFE Retiring Pioneers Say Goodbye
Story and photos by Jahnavi Rao and Lyvia Yan
As the year comes to a close, Conestoga says goodbye to four staff members. This year, secretaries Earle Osborne and Catherine Lucas, business teacher Robin Holloway and art teacher John Matthews bid their farewells. They will be missed by their fellow staff members and students, and are wished the best in all their endeavors. Robin Holloway When business teacher Robin Holloway applied to Conestoga, there was no internet, which meant the job hunt was purely her, a highlighter and a newspaper. With business teacher the only position open at Conestoga and Holloway’s experience in the business world, the job was hers. Holloway then took an eightyear hiatus from Conestoga as founder of American Computer Educators, a business that taught CEOs and secretaries alike how to work computers. “Everyone was terrified of computers,” Holloway said. “A few years later, the mouse was invented, and I’d say, ‘Pick up the mouse,’ and at least half of the people in class would (pull the mouse off of the table). It was a strange time.” Holloway finished her business venture and returned to Conestoga, only to be greeted by a different world than the one she left. “It was difficult coming back to teaching,” Holloway said. “It seemed like a whole generation had passed. When I left, we were doing one thing and when I came back, there were computer labs.” Luckily, computers posed no threat to Holloway, and she re-
Taking care of business: Robin Holloway wants to teach university courses after retiring.
entered the teaching stratosphere quickly. After years of working hard, Holloway is ready to “go out, have fun and enjoy life with (her) retired husband.” Post-retirement, Holloway plans to travel and teach a few university courses on the side. She also warns the reader to keep an eye out for her in the political world, as she “might run for something there.” Most importantly, Holloway has a goal that she is determined to accomplish. “One of my main objectives is to learn how to do one pushup,” Holloway said. “I want to start with just one. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but it’s a goal. Just one or two, see how it goes.” John Matthews Thirty-three years and countless pots later, ceramics and Studio Art teacher John Matthews is moving on from the T/E school district. Hailing from Lancaster County, Matthews studied at many universities, including but not limited to Millersville, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Wharton and the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute in China. Matthews began his teaching career by taking elementary school art positions at Beaumont and Hillside simultaneously. Matthews continued to add more teaching positions to his schedule until finally, the high school position opened up. “Every day, I had to teach high school in the morning, then kindergarten at Hillside and then go to T/E and teach middle school in the afternoon. After that, I’d come back to Conestoga and coach football,” Matthews said. “I’d walk from school to school, and it gave
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me time to refresh my mind. If I could, I’d walk now.” Matthews thoroughly enjoys the company of those in the building and is similarly beloved by other staff members and students. “I can’t think of anybody in the faculty I don’t know or like,” Matthews said. Matthews has also made many additions and alterations to the ceramics room. Some changes he made include converting the neighboring math classroom into a storage room, removing window panels to increase light, and adding a door leading out to the small courtyard.
Passion for art: Ceramics teacher John Matthews poses with “an artist’s smile.” “There’s no other space like this in the school,” Matthews said. Now, Matthews is off to pursue a design business venture with studios in both Maine and Chester Springs, Pa. “I believe when you start something you have a passion for, things work out,” Matthews said. “I don’t have much of a business plan, but I have instincts I can follow. I ran a small business when I was 22 and got that going. I’m not afraid to go into the arts.” While Matthews is excited to take on the art world, there are many valuable lessons and discoveries from Conestoga he will carry forever. “You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, and you can’t just be a teacher. It limits you,” Matthews said. “You bring passions with you to make your teaching more sustainable and interesting. You teach, but you also find your humanity elsewhere.” Earle Osborne After working 17 years at Conestoga, staff member Earle Osborne is leaving her position. Osborne worked as a secretary for five years in student services
and 12 years under administrators. Some of her fondest memories at ’Stoga are spending time with the administrators she worked with, including assistant principal Jamie Bankert. “We just have a lot of common interests. We play a lot of music— all kinds. We both like to decorate during the times of the holidays, so you’ll see lights and things hanging. It’s a fun atmosphere,” Osborne said. Aside from working with Bankert and other administrators, Osborne also made wonderful memories in the student services department. “Guidance was a fun place to work because it’s sort of the hub of everything,” Osborne said. “You got to work with teachers and administrators and students and parents, and there was always a little bit of everything—multitasking and different things coming up.” Although she has worked with “just wonderful, great people,” Osborne believes that “there comes a time when everybody has to do what’s best for them.” For her, retiring and spending more time with her family felt right.
Multitasking: Earle Osborne hopes to travel, read and experience more post-retirement. “I would plan to do a lot of traveling, spend time with friends and family. I’m an avid reader, so I’ll have more time for that and of course, enjoying music and listening and going to concerts and shows,” Osborne said. Despite her plans, Osborne will miss Conestoga. “I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss everybody. I know I’m going to have fun and I’m going to do a lot of fun things, but I’m definitely going to miss the people here, and of course the students because that’s what it’s all about,” Osborne said.
Catherine Lucas A little over 20 years ago, Catherine Lucas got sucked into what she calls “the vortex of Conestoga.” Since then, she has volunteered in the activities office, worked as an aide in the main office and most recently, worked as a secretary in student services. Aside from her work at ’Stoga, Lucas also helped found CAPCO and Tredyffrin-Easttown Care. “It’s like having a party. There’s a lot of planning involved with all of those things and the counselors are supposed to counsel at the same time,” Lucas said.
Planning parties: Catherine Lucas intends to move to Massachusetts and get involved with the community there. From organizing events to helping students, student services functions like “the heartbeat of the building” headed by staff members Lucas calls “the other mothers.” “Most of us had children, or have children who are still here and so part of our function is to just mother other kids,” Lucas said. To Lucas, Conestoga was like a second home. “I love Conestoga. It’s a fun place. It’s a city. My house was in Malvern, but I feel like I lived at Conestoga,” Lucas said. Post-retirement, Lucas plans on moving to Massachusetts where her daughters and their families are. “Their in-laws and us are all close. We party together, we vacation together, so it didn’t make any sense to stay in Pennsylvania,” Lucas said. Up in Massachusetts, Lucas plans to pursue her passion for rowing and continue to get involved in the community. “This is a really great place with a lot of great teachers. I’ll miss it. If it weren’t for the fact that my entire family is up there, I’d stay here forever,” Lucas said.
Published on Jun 6, 2016