Skip to content

Arkansas Teacher Celebrates Retirement After 61 Years Of Service

Arkansas Teacher Celebrates Retirement After 61 Years Of Service

She’s educated generations of students!

Thelma Thomason is a veteran teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas, 5 News Online reports. She first began her career in Fayetteville Public Schools as a counselor in 1961, just 7 years after the district integrated schools. Since then, Ms. Thomason has remained in the classroom, teaching through world changes, social uprisings, the phenomena of the internet, technological innovations and global health crises like the recent COVID-19 pandemi. 

“God is just good for me because I didn’t even get a cold whenever they had that stuff going around. I didn’t even get sick,” said Thomason. 

Now the veteran teacher has decided to retire, and students and coworkers from the past and present are gathering to celebrate Ms. Thomason after 61 years of service. 

“She’s amazing…She has taught generation after generation - I would say about probably three or four generations,” said Andrea Sego, principal at Vandergriff Elementary. 

Sego has worked with Thomason for the last 21 years. As they celebrated her departure, students also shared memories of one of the school matriarchs. 

“She’s very nice because she taught for a long time,” said former student Nathan Skinner, a current second grader. 

“It’s been so long, she’s been teaching forever,” added another Vandergriff student Charli Skinner. 

Thomason said she was grateful for the well-wishes and celebrations.

“I thought that was the sweetest thing,” she said. 

Rep. Denise Garner joined in on the celebration, honoring Thomason with a citation on behalf of the Arkansas House of Representatives, acknowledging her for her many years of service and accomplishments. 

Now that she’s retired, Thomason said she plans to do more yard work and spend a lot of time on her “favorite thing,” - antiquing. She hopes that her students will always remember to make the best of life and keep striving no matter what. 

“You only get one life once, make the best out of every day. If you fail at something today, talk to yourself and say you’ll do better tomorrow. Never, never give up,” Thomason said. 

Congratulations Ms. Thomason and thank you for your service!

Cover photo: Arkansas teacher celebrates retirement after 61 years of service/Photo Courtesy of 5 News Online