By Brad Melton
An area woman’s 40 years of service to young people has been recognized by the Bradleyville School District. Shirley Hall taught English four decades at local schools. She retired this year from the eastern Taney County school system after 32 years.
Former students, family, friends, colleagues and school administrators kept the official ceremony a secret from Ms. Hall. It was held during the recent FFA Chili Supper and Auction.
“It was a total surprise to me” she said after the event. “I was born and raised in Christian County and went to school for 12 years at Bradleyville. I attended S of O, later took classes at SMSU, then got my master’s from SBU in Bolivar. I (returned) to the Bradleyville School in 1981, when it was an old rock building which had been built in 1940.”
Superintendent Joe Combs presented the career teacher with a plaque during the ceremony. .
“She’s an excellent teacher” Mr. Combs stated. “She always received the highest ratings on her performance based teacher evaluations. I miss her; the new teacher certainly has big shoes to fill.”
Shirley was also given a handmade basket filled with cards fashioned by district students. English Class pupils wrote papers bound into a book presented to the retired instructor. Long-time friend and fellow Bradleyville teacher Paulette Combs helped organize the recognition ceremony.
“One of the things we mentioned the other night” noted Ms. Combs, was that anyone “associated with the school you see in the supermarket, they ask, ‘How’s school’? The next thing they say is ‘How’s Ms. Hall’? She was an excellent English teacher.”
Hannah Dotts graduated from Bradleyville in 2012 and was a student in Shirley’s English Class.
“She was the best” Dotts said. “We did lot’s of reading exercises and lot’s of writing essays. What I learned from her I use in my job today” in patient care as a Certified Medical Assistant.
Shirley has kept busy since leaving the Bradleyville system this year.
“So far I’ve had my grand kids. The last one of those went home a week ago Sunday. I’m interested in a lot of things. I like quilting and going to art shows; I love to fish.”
Fellow teachers, faculty and staff also gifted Shirley a red maple tree. It will grow in the Bradleyville School yard. She was also presented with a copy of the book, “The Giving Tree.” First published nearly a half century ago, Shel Silverstein’s children’s picture book captures the imagination and hearts of children and adults in each generation. It tells the story of a boy given unconditional acceptance from a tree.
“We love you, Shirley” Superintendent Combs told the retiring teacher during the recent ceremony. The event was capped by a standing ovation from the hundreds who turned out for it.