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Friday was the last day in the classroom for several of the 38 Newton County School System employees that retired this year.

The retirees had a combined total of 915 years of service to our school system.

The retiree with the longest tenure in Newton County was not a teacher, but held a position essential to the learning process. We salute Teresa Gilstrap, who worked an often thankless job as a nutrition worker for 38 years. She retired from Heard-Mixon Elementary.

We would also like to congratulate Deborah Robertson, who started as a teacher in the county 32 years ago and worked her way up to the position of associate superintendent for administrative services.

Deborah, being the humble person she is, told a member of our editorial board that she was thinking of not attending the retirement dinner held last week so the other employees could have their time in the spotlight.

We are glad that she took our advice and attended the dinner so she could receive the recognition she deserved.

Henry B. Adams once said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

With the amount of years our Newton County retirees put into their education careers, their influence will last for decades.

To all the retirees, we hope you enjoy your retirements in the ways you wish. However, educators hold that title for life and we hope you will continue to advise our current educators and students and volunteer for causes that help our young learners.

Congratulations to you all.