SCOUTING AROUND: Ranger School remembers Garland, Green
As teachers across the county are preparing their classrooms this week, teachers at Ranger Elementary/Middle School are deciding the best way to memorialize two women who passed away over one sad weekend this summer.
Anna Garland, a retired cafeteria worker, died July 27. Kathy Green, a retired teacher, died July 28. Many from the Ranger School community, including students, attended services for both on consecutive days.
Melanie Curtis, the school’s administrative assistant, was tasked with the job of spreading the news about both ladies via the school’s social media. Reporting Green’s death was especially hard, as they were best friends and worked together for 15 years. “Everyone talked about how she smiled all the time,” Curtis said. “Her presence … she was just a good soul.”
Principal Kelley MacDonald said the school would recognize both ladies. On Monday, the first day of school for staff, they spoke about the loss to their community.
Faculty and staff were asked to suggest books in the school’s library to act as memorials for Garland and Green. MacDonald said students will be able to check out the books, and see the recognition inside.
While she said children are very resilient, MacDonald said the school’s counselor, Lauren Gentry, will be available to assist them in any way.
Green, 58, started teaching at Ranger on Jan. 2, 1985, and retired on Oct. 31, 2015. For 25 of those years, she and Tracy Allen worked in classrooms next to each other.
Allen first started working with Green in the Title I remedial reading program at Ranger. Eventually, they both ended up teaching third grade, becoming not only a team for 20 years, but best friends.
Even after Green retired, Allen called her every morning on the way to school and woke her up because she “needed to.” She was in shock when she was first told about Green’s death.
“When it’s your best friend, it hurts so bad,” she said. “It crushed me.”
Allen said Green was the happiest person she ever met. “Even people who just met her, loved her. She just lit up a room,” Allen said. “And, oh, she loved her students.”
Garland, 65, retired at the end of the 2014-15 school year after working in Ranger’s cafeteria for 10 years. Known to the children as “Miss Anna,” she was one of the first people students would see each day, as she worked the register during breakfast.
They’d see her again in the afternoon serving lunch. Lisa Wood, the cafeteria manager, said the older children would never forget the fresh bread rolls she made each day for them. “They all loved her rolls,” Wood said.
After Garland retired, the school started serving previously frozen rolls instead of fresh ones, and Wood said the older students could tell the difference. Wood only worked with Garland for a few years, but said Garland loved all the students and enjoyed serving them.
“She was a hard worker,” Wood said. “She was a good Christian woman, and she loved her family.”
Teachers receive baskets of supplies
The community is showing its support of local teachers by donating school supplies.
Last week, the Grape Creek Homemakers Association donated supplies to four local teachers with ties to their community. This week, Bear Creek Adventures Mini Golf distributed supplies to several lucky teachers. “Whenever we hear of something somebody needs, we try to do it,” said Jan Rose, president of the homemakers group.
One of the 26 members informed the group that there is a need for supplies, so the ladies donated whatever they could – paper, pencils, composition books, glue and more – filling four laundry baskets with supplies.
Bear Creek Mini Golf in Ranger decided to provide supplies to thank teachers for what they do.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much they do out of their own pockets,” said Traci Gordon, manager of the family business.
Gordon reached out on social media, asking for teachers to be nominated with their supply needs. She was surprised by how many people outside of the local area replied, but not surprised by burdens presented to her. For the teachers randomly selected, the business purchased about $400 in supplies, providing everything from basic school supplies to classroom cleaning supplies.
Teachers receiving supplies this week were Heather Rogers of The Learning Center charter school, Jacky Egli and Shelby Golden of Ranger Elementary/Middle School, and Nicole Schmidt and Gina Penland of Murphy Elementary School. The Learning Center and Ranger each got an additional basket with supplies to distribute to teachers as needed.
“It was just so generous,” Egli said after receiving her basket Monday. “It’s just really a blessing.”
Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, firstname.lastname@example.org; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.