By Ray Huard…Felix Mirando said he’ll be cruising California’s coast in his 2009 blue Corvette, going to car shows and taking his five-year- old grandson fishing. “I enjoy looking at old cars,” said Mirando, who was a custodian at Roosevelt Middle School for the past 10 years.
Patricia Stegman has started studying sign language at Palomar College and is planning her first ever trip to New York City. “I want to go to a Broadway show, see the usual, visit museums, the Brooklyn Bridge, all that stuff, “said Stegman, who spent 17 years as an instructional aide at Casita Center for Technology, Science & Math. “I want to do something else with my life before I’m too old and broken,” Stegman said.
Miriam Carr, who taught mostly second grade for 40 years – 25 in the Vista Unified School District – has taken up a new hobby. “I want to start birdwatching,” said Carr, whose most recent teaching assignment was at Lake Elementary School. “I’m ready for a new phase.”
Mirando, Stegman and Carr were among dozens of retiring Vista Unified teachers and other school workers honored at a recent reception. “You’ve all contributed so much to our students, our families and our entire community in Vista,” said Superintendent Devin Vodicka. “We know we’re seeing successes,” Vodicka said, citing improvements in the number of students graduating high school this year and a decline in the number of dropouts as examples. “The only way this occurs is when a lot of people are working very hard for our students,” Vodicka said. “Your efforts, obviously, have had a big impact here in our community.”
Assistant Superintendent Brett Killeen told the retirees that “After years of sacrificing for others, it’s time to take a little time for yourselves.” “This is your time,” Killeen said. “I want you to think of this as a promotion.”
Dora Stabinski, a teaching assistant for 21 years at Vista Adult Transition Center, said she had mixed feelings about retiring, but looked forward to spending time with granddaughters Kadyn Cox, 3, and Makenzie Cox, 2. “I’m going to be a mom again,” Stabinski said.
Tammy Hollins and Terri Albritton decided to retire together after working together as adaptive physical education teachers, who modify physical education programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities. “We’re retiring because we’re ready,” Hollins said. “I couldn’t imagine doing adaptive physical education without her, so we both made the decision.” Hollins said she plans to travel and help fix up her mother-in- law’s house. Albritton said that her husband, a former teacher, retired last year so she figured it was time for her to join him in retirement, although she won’t be idle. “I’m going to help with my grandson, because my daughter is going back to teaching,” Albritton said. “Teachers run in my family. There’s five girls in my family and all of us have been teachers at one point.”
Annetta Mabrey, who works in the before-and-after school program at Hannalei Elementary school, said she’s sad about leaving the children, “but it’s time.” “I love working with the kids,” Mabrey said. “I’m going to miss it but I can go back and visit if I want, go back and help.” That’s an outlook Vodicka encouraged all the retirees to adopt. “I do hope you reconnect with us, stay connected,” Vodicka said.