Suwannee Democrat


June 19, 2014

Hamilton: Reception honors retirees and GED graduates

Jasper — On Monday, June 9, a reception was held inside the Hamilton County High School cafeteria for school personnel who are retiring, as well as for all the GED graduates for the year.

Hamilton County Veterans Services Officer Clay Lambert said a few words about one of the GED recipients, Edward Mathos.

“Mr. Mathos is a Vietnam veteran,” said Lambert. “The Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs has a program for people who served in World War II, Korea or Vietnam who were drafted and unable to graduate high school.”

The program allows them to earn a high school diploma, Lambert explained, and Mathos is the first one to take advantage of it in Hamilton County.

“It worked out well,” said Lambert. “He (Mathos) worked really, really hard and he served his country with honor.”

Other GED recipients were Adrian Esparza, Lorenzo Gallegos, Santos Gomez, Kenneth Cody Izell, Carlisha Joseph, Joseph Lee Jr., Jonathan Parr, Yolanda Reese, Michel Reyes, Amber Reynolds, Melinda Sannizzaro, Kaley Smart, Christopher Stach, Stephen Taylor and Keith Wilhoite.

“This is a bumper crop this year of GED recipients,” said School Superintendent Thomas Moffses. “Hats off to everybody that’s been involved in this and pushing the students. Continue to pass the word. This is something we would love to continue advancing, and having students who have not gotten their degree to come back. You can see the ages varying,” he added. “You’re never too old to come back.”

Retirees who were honored with a commemorative plaque were:

Jack Alford, General Services tradesman; Lynda Bates, administrative secretary at CHE; Betty Combass, paraprofessional at CHE; Chuck Fultz, teacher at SHE; Julie Gant, family resource/EDEP specialist at CHE; Cherry Hawkins, General Services bus driver; Sylvia Houston, paraprofessional at HCHS; Maceo Howell, teacher at HCHS; Dorothy Love, paraprofessional at Greenwood; Linda Linton, teacher at SHE; Betty Sue Zant, media specialist at NHE; Pam Marshall, human resources at FDLRS/Gateway; Norman McCall, teacher at HCHS; Cheryl Smith, teacher at HCHS; and Betty Ann Sumner, teacher at HCHS. A few others, whose retirement dates are a couple weeks away, will receive their plaques and be recognized at that time.

Retiree Maceo Howell has been an educator for 35 years, he said, starting out at Jasper Middle School. Then he went to Madison County for nine years before coming back to Hamilton County as principal of the high school, then principal of South Hamilton Elementary and back to the high school for an alternative program.

Howell said he and his wife Gwen, who retired last year, are going to take a month-long road trip out to California. He said he’s never been there and wants to see what it’s all about.

Of his time as an educator, Howell said, “It’s been a good ride.”

“To the retirees, let me say thank you,” said Moffses. “We all know that I’m new to the Hamilton County School District, but not new to Hamilton County. I look around at a lot of these educators that are leaving us today and they helped shape my own children in the school system. They have given of themselves for our children. You can’t do anything better than give for the kids.”

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