North Callaway recognizes service of retiring educators

(From left) Roberta Cupp, David Karns and Kristi DeForest are retiring from North Callaway R-I Schools after a combined 67 years with the district. The three were guests of honor at a dessert reception at the high school Tuesday afternoon and later were honored during the school board meeting.

(From left) Roberta Cupp, David Karns and Kristi DeForest are retiring from North Callaway R-I Schools after a combined 67 years with the district. The three were guests of honor at a dessert reception at the high school Tuesday afternoon and later were honored during the school board meeting. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

— North Callaway R-I paid tribute Tuesday to a trio of longtime educators who will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.

Roberta Cupp, David Karns and Kristi DeForest first were the guests of honor at a special reception where they visited with friends, coworkers and family over cupcakes and punch and visitors wrote farewell messages in scrapbooks made for the occasion.

Cupp, who has worked in the district for 20 years, including 13 years at Missouri Girls Town and her current position teaching special education at the high school, said she is going to miss her students and coworkers.

“The kids are the thing — they’re fun — and I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve worked with,” Cupp said.

DeForest, who has taught middle school math at Auxvasse Elementary School for 31 years, said she made the decision to retire after getting her youngest child through college.

“Definitely the kids, and in August that feeling of starting a new school year,” DeForest said when asked what she would miss the most.

Karns has spent 16 years as a counselor and teacher at Missouri Girls Town and, like the others, said he will be sad to say goodbye to his students one last time.

“I’m going to miss the kids and the camaraderie and people and their sense of humor,” Karns said.

Karns was not at the school board meeting later to be recognized and receive the traditional apple award. As he presented Cupp with her award, High School Principal Matthew Boyer said, “I wish we had more teachers like Roberta.”

Auxvasse Principal Travis Blevins, who once was a student of DeForest, also praised her as “a person in my life that has guided me. She’s a great mentor and role model.”

Superintendent Bryan Thomsen also made note of the retirees when he started his presentation later in the meeting.

“The three we’re losing are three that have such an impact on kids,” Thomsen said. “We’ve had thousands of kids that have gone through the district that have been impacted by them. They will be missed.”

In other business during Tuesday night’s meeting:

•Hatton-McCredie Principal Brian Jobe received permission from the board for several of his students to pursue two grants that would purchase equipment for the special education program and one that would be used to help provide students with behavioral incentives.

•Katie Milhollin gave an report on the vocational education program, which served 234 students in business-related classes and 165 students in agricultural classes. The school’s FFA program had 129 members this year, with seven students who achieved recognition as state FFA graduates. Milhollin said this was the most since she had started with the district. The chapter was also ranked 13th in the nation for the chapter activity award and had a floriculture team take third in the nation.

•The board set its annual budget work session meeting for 7 p.m. June 10.

Katherine Cummins can be reached at (573) 826-2428 or katherine@fultonsun.com.

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