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By Thomas Wrausmann, Telegraph staff writer

JERSEYVILLE — After 52 years in her profession, a dedicated, well-respected Jerseyville teacher has reluctantly decided to put up her chalk and eraser at the end of the school year.

Jean Spaulding, 70, started teaching right out of high school and spent the last 11 years teaching third grade at Holy Ghost School. Spaulding said she put off retiring for several years because of her love for kids, and teaching them some of the skills they’ll need to thrive in an often tough world.”I really have mixed emotion. You could say this is my life,” she said. “But I know it’s time. All the kids I know of that I’ve had, have really done well,” Spaulding said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Her husband, Roger, is a retired laborer. “He’s been retired it seems like forever,” she joked. “I want to see how that good life is.” She said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family and traveling.A son, Ron Spaulding, lives in Minneapolis, and her daughter, Jane, lives in Edwardsville and is engaged to Gred Coffey. Jane’s daughter, Jennifer Allen, Roger and Jean’s only grandchild so far, attends SIU.The principal said Spaulding works many hours, often on weekends and on vacation, preparing her courses, making them fun and challenging the students by correlating subjects with current events and the season.

“I am confident that the driving force in Jean’s52 years as a dedicated teacher has been her love for children, and a desire to make a difference in each child’s life. “She has not only touched the future of the lives of three generation, but has also made an impact on man in regard to eternal life through her Christian witness,” Telkamp said. She added that the staff and students are grateful for Spaulding’s years of service. Come August, classroom 3A will not be the same without Mrs. Spaulding”

Though she is not Catholic, Spaulding said the staff and parents have openly taken her in, “This has been a great job for me here,” she said, “It’s been a great experience.”

Spaulding said the public schools of Jersey County are good, but they can’t compete with the parental involvement and moral guidance provided by a private school. Along with academics, students are taught important values such as kindness, honesty, forgiveness and responsibility, she said. “They (morals) need to be taught, and some (public) school are going for that,’ Spaulding said, adding that parents often get involved in classes,which the teachers appreciate. ” I have great parents, very supportive.”

Roger Spaulding has often helped her with setting up displays, filling Christmas stockings, Easter baskets, covering books and helping decorate the bulletin boards in the classroom and corridors.

A party will be held for Spaulding June 12 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Jerseyville.

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