Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Gaines named Friend of Education

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | May 10, 2017
Source: PHOTO COURTESY OF JOLENE BULLIS Daniell McEvoy, left, chairman of the Friend of Education Committee, congratulates Marcia Gaines on being named the Fairfield Community School District’s Friend of Education during the Teacher Appreciation Breakfast Monday.

Fairfield resident Marcia Gaines wants to make a difference in the lives of children, and the Fairfield Community School District recognized her desire when they deemed her a “Friend of Education” Monday during its annual Fairfield Teacher Appreciation Award Breakfast at Fairfield High School.

“You know, I’m not anything special,” Gaines said of herself during an interview Tuesday. “I just have this desire to push someone in the right direction.”

Her pushes include spending half days at Pence Elementary School with first- and second-graders who need additional help in reading or math.

“I started helping over at Pence in the spring of 2015, and I picked it up 2016-17” she said, adding that she has always enjoyed children, and although she doesn’t think it would happen, if she were to choose a second career, teaching would be it.

After a successful career at Iowa State Bank, Gaines retired in December of 2014 as a senior vice president. It wasn’t long before she answered her heart’s call, and made her way to the neighborhood elementary school.

“I wanted to work with kids, so I talked to [Pence principal Mr. [Chuck] Benge. I live so close to the school. He said that I could help. He said ‘we’ve got students who have a need.’  I’m working in five different classrooms with children for half of the day,” she said. “It’s been a very good thing for me; if I can find that one kid that can say I made a difference. To just be out and have a child say ‘hi, Mrs. Gaines,’ it’s just nice to be recognized by these kids.”

Gaines is consistently recognized by students in the classrooms she visits.

“Teachers will select students that need one-on-one,” she said, explaining that she typically keeps a list of the current students who need her assistance. “Maybe half a dozen will want to be reading with me, too, but they haven’t been indicated that they need special help.”

Gaines said she’s there to encourage students.

“They have so much to learn at such an early age,” she said of modern educational requirements. “It’s not just ‘See Spot run,” anymore … teachers tell the children that this is the rule and this is why. Mathematics is so different, too. It’s not just ‘one plus one is two,’ it’s learning how to count money and tell time. There is a lot to do and a lot of standards that they have to meet. So anything that I can do to help these students move on is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the teachers have to do.”

Gaines said there is a definite need for more volunteers. She also gives credit to the teachers, for allowing her the opportunity to work with children.

“They allow me to do some of the things that I do,” she said. “Sometimes when teachers might be taking a break, I invite myself into the music class and I really enjoy it.”

Gaines said she loves to hear the children singing, but she’s even more impressed with their ability to learn to read music at such early ages.

“Mrs. [Connie] Keller really makes it fun for these kids,” she said of Pence’s music teacher.

Her daughter, Dena Morrissey said she’s happy for her mother.

“When you’re 18 and you get a job, you just try to raise a family and get through,” she said. “I think it’s great that she got to fulfill a dream,” Morrissey said. “She’s always enjoyed kids. She was a Sunday school teacher since I was little. I think for 35 years.”

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