Schools usually have an end-of-the-year luncheon or some sort of event to wrap up the old year and usher in summer vacation. When I was teaching at that inner city high school, the staff club hosted a luncheon, off campus, at a nice dining venue, on the last day of school. No one had to fix any food, or do any decorating, or stick around and clean up after it was all over. Our club dues paid for the event as well as plaques for all the of the retiring staff members. It was a fairly well-attended event and often many of the previously retired staff would return to catch up and hob-nob.
The principal and vice principal at the school where I have been chaplain are both leaving at the end of the school year. I asked about a staff luncheon but no one seemed to know if there would be one. I thought there really needed to something that showed appreciation to the administration for all of their hard work, and I kept voicing my thoughts to anyone who stood still long enough to listen. Turns out, one of the first grade teachers is in charge of the social committee, and she notified me that they were planning a small reception after school in the library. I told her I would come and be glad to help.
I made a platter of hors d’oeuvres and arrived early to help set up as I knew the teachers were all busy, working in their classrooms, right up to the last bell of the day and not able to make the necessary arrangements. A retired first grade teacher was also there as was the librarian as the reception was being held in the library. The food kept pouring in and we kept rearranging the trays and plates to make it all fit. More than anyone could eat in one afternoon. Enough for two more days worth of lunches. We packaged up the leftovers and they were taken to the staff kitchen to feed everyone the last two days of school.
Cards and gifts were given during the reception. A group picture was taken. One retired teacher came and caught up with the others. The kindergarten teacher and I discussed some plans for next year. After cleanup, I left at 4:30 and there were still teachers sitting at tables, talking. It was good to see.
I was glad the teachers were able to pull off the end-of-the-year event and honor those who are retiring as well as those who will be moving to new schools and new positions. It wraps up the year and helps the staff feel like their work has been noticed. Just knowing someone cares can make it all worthwhile.