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Golden Apple: Teacher retires after 41 years at the same school

The 10/11 Golden Apple Award is sponsored by Doane University College of Education.
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The 10/11 Golden Apple winner for May has been teaching at Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran School in York for 41 years, teaching families and loving every minute. And now the third grade teacher is saying goodbye.

Jan Gray was nominated for the 10/11 Golden Apple Award by Sara Ellis and her son Rylan. School may be out, but Sara and Rylan stopped by to say thank you to Mrs. Gray for not just teaching students but entire families.

Rylan Law was a third grader in Mrs. Law’s classroom this past year.

“She helped me excel in reading, and she can joke if she wants to,” Rylan said.

His mom, Sara Ellis said Rylan’s dad actually went to the same school, and Mrs. Gray was his third grade teacher. She said it was nice to have him tell Rylan what it would be like in Mrs. Gray’s class.

Jan Gray came to Nebraska from Iowa to attend Concordia High School in Seward. And she stayed, teaching at Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran School in York for 41 years. She taught sixth grade for three years, and then third grade ever since.

Brad Wellmann is the principal at Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran School. He said that Mrs. Gray really enjoyed being there for her students, not only teaching them the academic subjects but sharing the news of the Gospel and Jesus with her students and their families.

Mrs. Gray could have retired last year after her youngest grandchild went through her class. But she decided to stay on and support the families through the pandemic.

She said she probably won’t notice that she’s actually done teaching until it’s fall and she won’t go back to school. But the goodbye became a little more real on May 23 at her retirement party. Families came to honor Jan Gray, a teacher who gave her career to serving a community.

Mrs. Gray said she hopes she’s had an impact someplace. And her plans now?

“At this point, maybe I’ll stay home and clean my house!” Gray said.

And after all that time in a classroom, Mrs. Gray deserves some time at home.

The 10/11 Golden Apple Award is sponsored by Doane University College of Education.

Doane University College of Education
Doane University College of Education(Doane University College of Education)

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