By Emily Stellakis, Editor-in-Chief (‘20)
Following 44 years of teaching, including 19 years at Indian Hills, student-favorite child development teacher Mrs. Hughes has announced her retirement at the end of the 2020 school year. Having educated IHHS students and preschoolers in her child development class for almost two decades, Mrs. Hughes has left her impact on the RIH community through teaching hundreds of high school students about child care and inspiring many to pursue careers in childhood education.
Since Mrs. Hughes began her career at Indian Hills in the early 2000s, she has seen the school change with the times and adopt new teaching methods. “I feel that the changes I have seen during my 19 years at Indian Hills are positive changes, like new course offerings for students, wellness activities for both students and staff, the use of laptops, and additional student activities and clubs. I also feel that students have become more caring and considerate of others,” said Mrs. Hughes.
Throughout her years teaching at Indian Hills, Mrs. Hughes has forged connections with students that continue after graduation and feels that one of the best parts about teaching at Indian Hills is the people that she has met along the way. “The community of Indian Hills is definitely my favorite thing about the school. I have met so many students and colleagues over the years, making new friendships and enjoying the company of so many,” said Mrs. Hughes.
As a child-development teacher working with both high school students and preschoolers, Mrs. Hughes has surely impacted a vast number of students throughout her years of teaching and regards the aspect of Indian Hills that she will miss the most to be “walking through the halls, greeting people on a daily basis, and of course, teaching students”.
As for retirement, Mrs. Hughes is looking forward to the freedom of having time to travel and to spend with her family, and she is excited to keep busy with reading and passing time outdoors. In addition to enjoying time with her 8 grandchildren and visiting the beach, Mrs. Hughes is also thinking of incorporating service into her retirement plans. “I am very interested in volunteering to help adults learn to read, as I think it will be hard for me to just stop teaching altogether,” said Mrs. Hughes.
Though the end of the school year and Mrs. Hughes’ retirement celebration may have been different than planned due to the pandemic, she is immensely grateful to the Indian Hills community and her career as a child development teacher, for this field is one of her greatest passions. “I am so fortunate to have worked in a career that I enjoyed. It was never a chore for me to ‘go to work’,” said Mrs. Hughes, “For me, I felt like I had the best job in the school; I worked with preschoolers and high school students, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I was fortunate that I was able to ‘do what I loved, and I loved what I did’.”