SIDNEY — For the last 27 years, Jackie Cathcart has been preschool teacher’s assistant at the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities. This summer will mark the end of this journey for Cathcart as she has announced her retirement.
In 1985, Cathcart’s son began receiving speech services through the early intervention program. At that time, the program was known as Shelby Hills and had classrooms for all age groups up through high school. In 1986, she began volunteering for the program while her son was in class. She spent time organizing the library, supply room, helping in the classrooms, and chaperoning swimming outings to the YMCA. While volunteering she worked alongside Wilma Valentine whose passion for the program rubbed off on Cathcart.
In the fall of 1990 Jackie became a classroom aide. When reflecting on her years of service, Cathcart notes that the years have gone by quickly and many changes have occurred. The building has expanded as well as the staff, teaching methods, and class sizes. There is one thing, however, she feels, that has not changed and that is the children.
“Kids are still kids,” said Cathcart. “Perhaps they are a little faster than they used to be or else I’m just getting slower. But kids were, are, and will always be kids each one unique in their own way. All just like little sponges waiting to soak up the days adventures. Every day they have taught me something new. I feel honored to have worked in a place and with a staff that places such worth on treating each child as the individual that they are.
“Over the years I have worked with many teachers in a single classroom as the teacher’s assistant. I am grateful for the knowledge gained from each of the teachers I worked with. Although I enjoyed these years nothing has intrigued me more than my assignment of the last eight years. I have been an assistant that moves amongst the classrooms where needed and a one-on-one for children who have so required such assistance. Having a part in helping those children with more specialized needs strive to be the best they can be has been a very rewarding.”
Kathie Lammers, Early Childhood supervisor, said, “Jackie’s unwavering dedication to Shelby Hills and the children we serve will be missed. Jackie has spent countless hours providing supports for the children of Shelby County. Her steadfast dependability has been greatly appreciated.”
In her retirement, Cathcart is looking forward to spending more time with her husband Gary and their two married children and five grandchildren. She is also looking forwards to being more available to help out with their Church’s outreach projects and activities.
“Although I know this is the right decision for me at this time in my life I will truly miss all the little smiling faces and being a part of such a devoted and remarkable team, it’s been great,” said Cathcart.