‘Hens and Chicks’ gather together

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Ray Tincher Submitted

Teachers are in a “class of their own” and should receive higher recognition. We hand our kids over to them and expect them to mold them into great achievers.
The Lapel school system is very fortunate to have teachers who have gone out of their way to give the students in their classroom the best education possible. The following are just two of the many teachers who exemplify the goals our school system gave to its students.
My wife and I were sitting in our golf cart watching the 2018 Lapel Village Fair, when a lady asked if I could take her in my golf cart to the grade school parking lot. She was scheduled to be part of the parade. While taking her there, I learned her name was Trudy George, a retired Lapel grade school teacher.
On Labor Day of this year, I had an appointment with Trudy for an interview.
I was kind of excited to meet her (again), because I had heard so many positive things about this lady.
I learned from one of my grandkids, years ago, Trudy had experienced a fire at her residence. My grandson asked his mother if he could give Trudy his television because he heard she lost hers in the fire. This is just one of many stories about Trudy and the impact she had on students.
Trudy George has taught grade school for 41 years. Most of those years were spent at Lapel Elementary School teaching the first, second and third grades.
I would think you must truly enjoy being responsible for small kids. And those kids would need to have respect for you. Some people call little kids “rug rats.” Trudy loved those kids so much. Many of them are now adults, and they still love that lady who taught them in the first, second or third grade!
There are other stories about kids from Trudy’s class not wanting to advance to the next grade because they would lose Trudy as their teacher. I’ve learned there are possibly hundreds of former students who still revere this lady. It is amazing to listen to them speak of how much they enjoyed their time in her classroom.
Trudy graduated from Ball State Teachers College, as it was called years ago.
“I got my master’s at Purdue. I just thought that would look good on my resumé,” Trudy added.
Trudy went on to say, “I just love kids. At one time, I wanted to do what is called looping. Looping is when you have the same kids the second year. Well, when I was teaching the first grade; at the end of the school year, I knew every one of those kids’ weaknesses. The next year, I thought I could teach the second grade and I could work with the kids who had weaknesses and save them from being held back a year. I think it is a wonderful way to teach and help kids. However, the board would not approve the idea.
“I did things with kids when I taught the third grade which may not be allowed today. I took the boys and had an overnight campout in Noblesville. The girls had a slumber party. I doubt parents would allow things like that today.”
“So, you never taught high school?” I asked.
“Jay Lee Renbarger came and talked to me, and he said, ‘Trudy, we have a batch of parents who were getting together and talking, and we’d love for you to become a counselor.’ At that time, I loved what I was doing.” Trudy replied.
“Later, they came to me and want me to go to third grade. I cried because I had been in first grade forever and ever. But, they insisted, ‘We need you in third grade.’
“So, then I went back to the third grade. It wasn’t very long when they wanted me back in the first grade,” Trudy added.
It takes a person with a big heart to handle first-graders. The teacher must have a lot of patience. This writer remembers falling in love with his sixth-grade teacher. She was so kind and patient with me. My parents were very old, and I didn’t receive any help from them with homework or other things.
Trudy George is an exceptional lady who bubbles with joy and friendliness. It is easy to understand why she was so popular with her students. Each year, they have a get-together called “The Hens & Chicks.”
This group of several former students has been meeting like this for 23 years.
There are usually twice as many as there were this year; several were absent this year because of other commitments. Kelli Bays played host to this year’s group.

Ray Tincher attended Ball State University and retired from Indiana Department of Correction in 1997. He worked at IDOC for 30 years, serving in a variety of roles, from correctional officer to warden. At retirement, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Frank O’Bannon. He wrote training manuals as part of his employment and is a published author: “Inmate #13225 John Herbert Dillinger (2007).” He and his wife, Marilyn, live in Lapel.