The Dart: Teacher ready to retire, spend time with child

Published 12:02 am Monday, May 14, 2018


VIDALIA — As a Pre-K instructor at Vidalia Lower Elementary, Cheryl Lewis knows how to split her time among dozens of students.

When The Dart landed at the school this past Thursday, Lewis was helping little ones into the cars to go home for the day. But, on her mind was a specific youngster of her own.

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In her 33rd year of teaching, Lewis is retiring from education on May 23 and said she wants to use the extra time to spend with her 11-year-old daughter, Amber.

“It’s not that I’m tired or burnt out or anything. I just want to spend time with her because she’s still young,” Lewis said. “I did miss some part of her school years growing up, and now I’m just excited I get to do some things I want to do.”

Lewis said she realizes just how important the next few years will be for Amber, especially because she will enter junior high next school year. Her teaching background gives her the extra insight needed to help her daughter in the coming years, she said.

“It is a tough age,” Lewis said. “I just want to be there. I want to be able to help her with certain things that come along with her peers — whatever I can do to help.”

When not with Amber, Lewis also said she looks forward to spending time with her sons Austin, 17, and Arthur Jr., 26.

Though she has plenty waiting for her at home, Lewis admitted she would definitely miss being an educator.

Lewis has taught all over the area, including band and choir in Vidalia, Ferriday and in Tensas Parish. She has been serving at Vidalia Lower Elementary this go-round for the past eight years.

“To see the kids grow from the beginning of the year until now is a special thing,” Lewis said. “Every day I send them off, I can’t wait to see them the next day.”

When it comes to the day Lewis won’t be back the next morning to see her students, she said she knows it will be a mix of emotions.
“I’ll be sad,” she said. “I love the faculty here. Everyone is great, but I’m ready. I’m not tired of teaching, but 33 years is a long time.”