Teacher retires after 34 years at McCormick
In 1978, the headline read: “Well grad returns as teacher.”
Now in 2012, 34 years later, Becky Norton is retiring from teaching at McCormick Middle School.
“I’ve been in the same room the whole time. Leaving will be hard. It’s like selling your house after you’ve lived there for 30 or 40 years,” Norton said.
Norton’s journey began with her birth at a hospital in Oberlin, followed by growing up on a farm in Brighton with brother David and two sisters, Mary and Jody. Norton attended the Wellington schools, and in middle school, started falling for her future husband, Craig Norton.
“I married my high school sweetheart. We actually started liking each other in the eighth grade,” Norton said.
In a village the size of Wellington, a home-town love can sometimes put you into interesting scenarios.
“I had my boyfriend’s mom in school. She was my junior (year) English teacher,” Norton said.
Norton graduated from Wellington High School in 1973 and attended Bowling Green State University. Craig and Norton kept together throughout college despite a long-distance relationship, as Craig went to Ohio State University.
In 1977, both Norton and Craig graduated from their respective colleges and were married in November at Brighton United Methodist Church in Wellington, where they still attend today.
Norton, along with an elementary education degree, has a master’s in administration.
Attending BGSU made Norton quite a hockey fan.
“Hockey is big at Bowling Green. I love it. I would go to games there. I have a hockey stick in my room and one time a student brought me a Bowling Green puck,” Norton said.
Out of college, Norton landed a kindergarten teaching position at Clearview, but the drive was too much with her home base still being in Wellington.
For the 1978-79 school year, Norton found a local teaching job at McCormick Middle School, and never left her room or building.
During her tenure, Norton has seen many changes throughout the teaching landscape, none more predominant than technology and the Internet.
“We had old lights and radiators. I learned how to hand thread a movie projector in college. Now it’s smart boards, ipads, computers,” Norton said.
Norton’s co-workers have gone through the changes as well and stayed strong.
“The staff comes and stays, it really is a strength of the district. It is a big staff; I had a lot of the teachers in fifth grade,” Norton said.
Spending all of her years at McCormick, Norton always hoped to see the facilities upgraded.
“It was always my goal to teach in a new building. The kids and the staff deserve it. The building is like an old Victorian home, a lot of history, but it can’t support the needs. Technology is so much a part of what we do now (teaching), and McCormick can’t support it,” Norton said.
“My class was the first class at Westwood. Then ‘72/73 at the new high school. I still call it that, the new high school. But McCormick is so old. It’s difficult to conduct classes sometimes when the kids are burned out from it being so hot in the building,” Norton said.
The McCormick building is full of old memories as well.
“It’s a small world, and now I’m having the children of the children I had in fifth grade. My memory is full of all the great people I’ve worked with, it’s been a close staff that always helped each other out, more like family,” Norton said.
Norton gets reminded of her service when she is out about town.
“It’s great going places and kids will say, ‘Oh Mrs. Norton, how are you?’ In a small town it’s great because you get to see the kids grow up. You’re always their teacher,” Norton said.
Every teacher has an impact on a student’s life, a number Norton has tried to calculate.
“By 10 a.m., I’ve had around 200 interactions with students. Kids want to share what they know,” Norton said.
As for Norton’s plan for retirement, “My husband bought me a banjo,” Norton said.
by ADAM FOX