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St. Pat's poet/ teacher retires

Judie Wiebold

When Judie Wiebold began her teaching career in Chicago in 1965 the war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement dominated the evening news. Gas prices were holding at 31 cents a gallon and the "Sound of Music" premiered amid great fanfare.

There were a few years off while she raised her family, but all told, Wiebold has taught 40-plus years including the last twelve years at St. Patrick School. Over her career, she has taught all grade levels but she's quick to point out, "Middle school has been dear to my heart for years -- especially the eighth-graders -- they're always entertaining!"

Wiebold has high praise for the staff at St. Patrick School, especially Principal Mary Paisecki. Among the most gratifying aspects of being a teacher are the invitations she receives each year to former students' graduation celebrations, "It's a pleasure to see what fine people our students grow in to."

When asked what the biggest changes she has seen in education over the years, she paused before replying, "Students have many more areas of interest, rather than just academic study." New teachers are bombarded with innovative, new approaches to teaching, but Wiebold's advice to those new to the profession is simple, "Enjoy the students every day. If you lose the spirit of fun it's a very hard job." Her advice to parents is equally simple, "Be your child's parent, not their friend -- don't be afraid to say "no." Sound advice from a parent whose life exemplified the importance of education -- her four daughters have all gone on to receive advanced degrees.

Future plans for Weibold include spending more time with her husband Ray, a retired Lutheran minister, and visiting her daughters and their families. She also plans to catch up on many projects and pastimes like reading, gardening and travel.

One of Weibold legacies at St. Patrick School is the poem that she writes each year for the eighth-grade students who graduate. In a few lines, she captures the fun and the essence of each student. She had one last assignment here -- to write a few lines that sum up her teaching career.

"Serving the Lord through teaching has always been my desire. He'll show me new ways to serve him, now that I retire."