ROFF — After 40 years of dedicating her life to the education of other people’s children, Shirley Boatright is retiring from Roff Elementary School.

Boatright has been the second grade teacher at Roff Elementary for last 37 years, and leaving the school will be a bittersweet experience for the devoted educator.

“I still have the keys to my classroom, and when I finish and have to turn the keys in and really say good-bye, it will be hard,” Boatright said.

Boatright began her teaching career 40 years ago, and after three years of teaching at smaller schools, she was hired at Roff Elementary.

“I was thrilled to get to teach at Roff because that is where I lived and that is where I got my high school education,” Boatright said. “I was just blessed enough to get to stay there all these years.”

For Boatright second grade has always been where it’s at. “Second graders were just always my favorite. I just like that age. They are just so loving,” she said. “It is just a precious, precious age for kids. They are just so eager to learn.”

Retiring was not something Boatright was really looking forward to but something she found she wanted to do for her family. Her parents, who live in Roff as well, were needing her more and more, and she felt like she needed more time to be with them as well as her three grandsons. “I just feel like I need to be there for them,” she said.

Boatright plans to keep her two-year-old grandson three days a week while her daughter teachers at Latta school. Her two older grandsons, both in junior high, are involved in many activities that Boatright will now have the time to watch and enjoy.

But she will definitely miss her day job. “I know this fall I am really going to miss it,” she said. “I will miss the kids the most, their little hugs and smiling faces.”

After 37 years of teaching the one legacy she hopes to leave behind is simple.

“I just pray that the kids that I have taught know when they leave my room that they are very special and that they can succeed in anything that they set their hearts to do or be,” Boatright said. “I just love kids.”

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