Longtime teacher retires from NRHEG
FAREWELL TO NRHEG — LaDona Flowers, left, listens as superintendent Dale Carlson reads a plaque given in her honor after 42 years of teaching at NRHEG during staff recognition day. (Star Eagle photo by Aloni Duncan)
By MELANIE PILTINGSRUD
After teaching for one year in Austin, TX, and at NRHEG for 42 years, LaDona Flowers is retiring.
Flowers has taught a broad range of classes over the course of her career. She has taught 7th and 8th-grade Family and Consumer Science classes, Succeed on Your Own, Internet Investing, Culinary Arts, International Cuisine, Sport and Foods, Food Science, Child Development, Future Parenting, Housing/Interior Design, Pinterest Projects, and Relationships/Self Defense.
Flowers says that one of the most humbling experiences of her career was when Bethany Otto Mikesell requested that her mother Emily Otto nominate her as the 1999 NRHEG Teacher of the Year. Flowers says, “After submitting a portfolio to Education Minnesota, I was recognized as one of the 20 Minn. Teachers of Excellence. It was indeed an honor to represent the NRHEG teachers at the recognition banquet where all of the teachers in the state are honored.”
Another highlight of Flowers’ career occurred during her internship: “While working on my Specialist of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I conducted seminars for an import/export company in Shanghai, China.
Flowers also considered it a privilege to be able to work with three student teachers throughout her career.
Flowers knows how to get involved in the community for a good cause, too. “To celebrate the Bicentennial, an FHA Rock-A-Thon was organized,” she explains. “The FHA members and I rocked in rocking chairs for 24 hrs. to raise funds for the future baseball field. Tracy Loken, organized another major FHA/FLA fundraiser for the March of Dimes.”
Sometimes getting involved meant going farther afield. “The FHA district officers and I attended summer camps and attended national FHA conventions in Washington, DC and in Chicago,” says Flowers.
And after returning from her first year of teaching in Austin, TX, Flowers supervised students on a European group tour.
At the center of Flowers’ goals and efforts as a teacher was a heart for students. “I hope that my students will remember that I sincerely cared about each and every one of them,” she says, “and that I wanted only the best for them both in class and in their future.”
Flowers knows that a big part of life are the people around us – those who share our experiences. “I think my students will remember the relationships that were developed when they participated in FHA/FLA activities, the Culinary Arts Cupcake Wars, the International Iron Chef Contests, the MN Stock Market Games, and the LifeSmarts State Competitions,” she says.
Flowers mentions only one thing she would do differently if she had it all to do over again. “As I reflect on my career, I would have enrolled in graduate school to obtain my Masters of Science and Specialist of Education degrees immediately after my first year of teaching.”
Of course, no matter what level of education a teacher attains, they always have to be ready to keep learning and adjusting with an educational system that is ever evolving. Flowers lists a number of changes that occurred over the course of her career. “The entire FACS curriculum has changed with the use of one-to–one technology, the Internet and the ever changing National and State Standards. Students enrolled in the Child Development and Culinary Arts classes may receive college credit, which was not always an option.”
“I will miss almost everything about my professional career in teaching because the NRHEG school district has been a very, very, very large part of my life,” says Flowers. “I have been blessed to have been a teacher in the NRHEG school district and a resident in New Richland the first 10 years of my career. I treasure the memories that I have because of the community support, the school board members, the administrators, the entire staff, the parents and the students. I will always be grateful for Mr. Hedman and the school board members at the time for offering the Home Economics (FACS) position to me and allowing me to serve in this amazing school district.”
Although Flowers will no longer have a strict schedule during her retirement, she does know what she would like to do. “For the first time in my life, I have no definite goals. I hope to spend more time with my family and friends, and travel with my soul mate, Dave. Most importantly, I will rely on Jeremiah 29:11.
“I try not to give advice to others,” Flowers says. “but for myself I am grateful for the day that the Lord has made and I try to rejoice and be glad in it.” That is advice we can all live by.