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    Staff members say goodbye to Summit

    As the school year ends, so does the career of three beloved teachers. Art teacher Melinda Murek, Math teacher Shannon Walton, and Social Worker Mary Pat Gilliam will be retiring this year. 

    As the twenty-eighth year of Walton’s career comes to an end, she shares her favorite Summit traditions and her appreciation of school spirit.

    “My favorite tradition is definitely the crowds at the games, homecoming, and pep assemblies. My favorite assembly is the academic assembly because it showcases everyone’s talents, musically, artistically, and scholarly,” Walton said. “If you were to look back at all the years, I used to go all out [on spirit days] all the time. I haven’t as much in recent years because I feel not everyone has been involved as much as they used to be.” 

    Similarly, Murek also appreciates the school’s assemblies and amusing spirit day themes. 

    “I like the academic pep assembly and the teacher dance. I just like the whole environment and atmosphere [during spirit week]. I like the twin’s day. Mrs.Mack, Mrs.Head, and I [like to wear] similar clothes,” Murek said.

    As both teachers have spent over two decades at Summit, there are many things they will and won’t miss. 

    “I’ll miss the kids the most,” Murek said. “just hanging out and talking to them. [I’ve had connections with] students through the years, especially the kids that I had in more than one class, so I got to see them develop as a person and an artist.”

    “[I will miss] the relationships with both students and teachers,” Walton said. “This is like a second home to me. I’ve built relationships that have carried on past school with students that are in their thirties or forties now. [I’ll miss] my math department, especially Jamie Robertson.”

    Murek says she does not find any interest in grading artwork. 

    When Murek began school, she did not intend to become a teacher. 

    “I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher. I was a graphic designer for five years, so I’ve always liked art. But I found that after I got my degree I didn’t enjoy it. It was more fun being a student, and I still like being a student,” Murek said. 

    On the other hand, Walton said she’s known she wanted to teach for a long time 

    “I actually thought that I was going to be an elementary teacher. [In college] I was helping people in my dorm, and it was kind of fun. People would always tell me how I was really good at explaining and [how] it  made so much more sense, so I pieced those things together and here I am.”

    Walton’s reason for retiring, she says, is due to a shortage of new things to learn. 

    “I’ve kind of maxed out in new challenges. I’m at a point in my life where I still have time. I’m in good health to try to do other things and see what’s out there. I’m ready for a little bit of a change.” Walton said. She plans to go to Florida in mid-August. 

    Murek’s reason for retiring is that “I’m old, and I’m tired.” She plans to spend time with her grandsons and continue making art in the form of pottery and painting.

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    About the Contributor
    Mariam Sedeiqi, Of The Talon staff
    Class of 2025 HOSA

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