July 25, 2007 Edition

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Rose retires after 41
years in education


Joyce Rose, who is retiring after 35 years at the Walnut Ridge School, sorts e-mails and puts finishing touches on instructions for her successor.
Amber Adams
Staff Writer

After 35 years with the Walnut Ridge School District and over 40 years in education, Joyce Rose is retiring. She has worn many hats during her time at the Walnut Ridge School, the most recent being that of high school counselor.

Rose began her student teaching at Walnut Ridge under Mack Davis, while also teaching at Lynn.

She taught at two schools in Jonesboro and one in Alabama before returning to Walnut Ridge, to work half days under the hot weather schedule. Bonnie Burns was the full-time counselor at the time, and Rose served as part-time counselor. She did all of the Title-Four testing, which was the only state-required testing.

When a position came open for a math teacher at the school, Rose taught half a day and worked half a day as counselor. After two years, Burns relocated to Tennessee, and Rose became full-time counselor.

In 1994, Rose moved to Walnut Ridge Middle School, to take a position as principal. She spent four years there, before the school was realigned, and she transferred back to the high school.

"It worked out well," said Rose. "Bonnie left and I was full-time counselor, and when I moved to middle school, she came back. By the time the realignment took place, she (Bonnie) was looking to retire, so I stepped back in as high school counselor."

In her time at the school, Rose did more than teaching and counseling. She was the sponsor for the school's newspaper when they adopted the name, Cats Dispatch, and contacted The TD about printing rather than Xerox copies.

"One of my most memorable moments from this time was a photography contest held at ASU," said Rose. "One of our students, John Bland, won an award, but had gone home early. We delivered the award to him at his house, and he was so surprised. The look on his face was priceless."

Rose added that moments like that are what made her job worth it. Supporting the students, and letting them know that they had someone rooting for them made her happy.

"We always tried to attend pageants, plays, choral and band concerts and ball games," she said. "I wanted my students to know I supported them."

Rose also sponsored the school's Quiz Bowl Team, leading them to win two state championships and finish twice as runners-up. She had a team every year, for 22 years, since the program began. She also served on the Quiz Bowl Board for eight years and was president during the organization's 20th anniversary, when it was decided to broadcast state competitions live on AETN. Rose has served on the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Coalition since it began in 1999.

She was involved with the Teens Of North East Challenge, which Walnut Ridge has won four times, more than any other school; PRIDE and Bobcats Against Drugs, groups that promote drug prevention.

She got the school involved in several programs that were later state required including some summer programs, such as ACT prep classes and eighth grade parent orientation. Rose did all of this along with her regular duties as counselor, which included scheduling for every student, college prep, financial aid meetings and setting up visits with college and military representatives as well as counseling students.

"Mrs. Rose has been a valuable asset to this school," said Superintendent Terry Belcher. "We've worked together for many years and she will be missed. Her contributions to this school will be sorely missed."

"Retiring was the toughest decision I've ever made," Rose said, "and it's hard to let go when you've done something for so long."

She said that the amount of state-required testing was a major factor in her decision.

"I felt like I couldn't be a counselor anymore because we've gotten so involved in testing," she said. "I wasn't getting to know the kids on a personal level the way I like to."

As far as plans for retirement, Rose said she is looking forward to spending time with her grandkids and following their activities. She and her husband, Gary, will still be attending ball games and other school functions. She is working on a play right now with Carrie Mae Snapp that will be performed in August as a Children's Shelter benefit.

"I have a lot of wonderful memories, a few sad ones and many success stories ... I will miss so much of it," Rose said.

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