Caldwell Retires as Art Teacher at RHS
As the Art teacher at Rector High School, Carolyn Caldwell has formed a bond with several students through the years. Caldwell, whose love for art in all its forms comes through in nearly everything she does, announced recently her plans to retire this June, when the current school year comes to a close.
"It's not an easy decision (to retire) because I love it so much," Caldwell said. "But, last year my husband and I went on a trip to Ireland. It was so much fun and exciting, and I thought, 'I'd like to do more of this."
Caldwell and her husband, Richard, moved to the area from Maine in 1995. Later that same year, she accepted the position as Art teacher at what was then Clay County Central.
"It's been wonderful teaching here at Rector," Caldwell said. "I've been fortunate to have outstanding students and work with some very good people."
The Art department has flourished under Caldwell.
"We've done well," Caldwell said. "This year, we took first place at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer youth contest. I'm really proud of that because we compete against schools from other areas. We've had students do well in that contest each year. We have had two students major in Art when they left here and both are doing well. When you can have that kind of success at a small school, it's outstanding."
Caldwell has made an effort to make her class an experience in which any student can benefit from and enjoy.
"Art is not just about winning contests. When you see a kid who's pleased with what he's done, you have changed that person's life. When they're able to express themselves with art, that's something they can do the rest of their lives. That's something I've really been able to appreciate here. Here, I've been able to teach each student on more of an individual basis. Our classes aren't sequential, like Art II and Art III and so on. We've been able to allow students to focus on their particular interests like sculpture and portraits and more individual projects. It's really opened Art up to the students."
In addition to her students, Caldwell says she will miss the RHS faculty and administration.
"I've been very fortunate to work with outstanding administrators and teachers here. A lot of people do not appreciate the merits of the arts, but I've had a very supportive administration here. I've made good friends here who I am going to miss seeing every day."
Though retiring, Caldwell's not ruling out coming back to the RHS campus on occasion.
"I am seriously considering (substitute teaching.) I've subbed in the past, and I enjoy being around the students."
Those who've studied with her know any classroom in which Caldwell steps, even for a brief moment, can only benefit from her presence.