‘A tremendous thanks’: Aldermen declare today Retired Teachers Day

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 17, 2000

When Minnie Dinelli, Jacqulyn Williams and Clementeen Youngblood first began teaching, they only earned $3,000 each year. Their salaries may have changed prior to their retirements during the 1990s, but their spirit has stayed the same. Among the three of them, they have taught children for 100 years.

&uot;I really did enjoy teaching,&uot; Dinelli said. &uot;I really enjoyed worked with my children. I put forth every effort and every thing that I had. I taught everybody’s child like I wanted people to work (with) my children.&uot;

To honor such teachers, the Natchez Board of Aldermen declared today Retired Teachers Day at the request of the Mississippi Retired Teachers Association, Williams said.

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Cities across the state were asked to pick such a day, she added.

&uot;(Teachers) do a tremendous service and for the most part they do it not making very much,&uot; said Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

&uot;I don’t know of any of us who don’t owe a tremendous thanks to teachers we’ve had in our lives.&uot;

The women said they have even taught many of the members of the current Natchez Board of Aldermen.

&uot;I was very honored,&uot; said Williams about the declaration of a Retired Teachers Day.

Like many retired teachers, Dinelli, Williams and Youngblood have stayed active in school events since their retirements, attending school board meetings and athletic events and taking part in a student mentoring program.

They are also active in the community and their local churches.

The women say they like feeling a part of the community and enjoy staying abreast of its events.

&uot;You like to give service,&uot; Youngblood said. &uot;I guess it all stems from all the years we’ve been working.

&uot;It’s just something we’ve been doing and it’s hard to stray from it.&uot;

And being retired, the women say they enjoy having the extra time and energy to serve the community.

&uot;It’s relaxing to be able to go and do all these things,&uot; Dinelli said.

During their years of teaching, the women have seen many changes including school integration, changes in society and changes in children.

So many things such as television and jobs compete for children’s attention today, the teachers said. These often distract them from learning, Youngblood said.

And children’s attitudes toward authority has also changed, they said.

&uot;It seems like since the ’60s kids are more aware of their rights,&uot; Youngblood said.

But even today what keeps these teachers involved is their concern for the children in the school district, many of whom they still know or know their families.

This makes it worth the challenges, they said.

&uot;You have to love the children in order to endure it like you do,&uot; Williams said with a smile.