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Dane Lawley and Carlene Hooper are both retiring from Chelsea High School this year.
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An end of the year party celebrating Chelsea High School teachers was held in the school's cafeteria on May 26, 2016.
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Members of Chelsea PTO helped provide and serve food as a thank you to Chelsea High School's teachers.
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Chelsea band director Dane Lawley (right) talks with one of his cowokers at an end of the year celebration at Chelsea High School.
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PTO volunteers helped serve the food at an end of the year celebration on May 26, 2016. Pictured are Holli Monk, Val Harvey and Mindy Towery.
The Chelsea High School cafeteria was filled with teachers, staff members, PTO volunteers and a few students after an early release on May 26.
Each year, the PTO hosts four parties for faculty and staff, including an end of the year celebration, and this year’s party had two guests of honor — retiring band director Dane Lawley and teacher Carlene Hooper. Lawley started teaching at CHS 38 years ago, and it is the only school where he has taught. Hooper has been at Chelsea for 12 years, in Shelby County for 14 and has taught for more than 30.
Mindy Towery, who has served on Chelsea High School’s PTO for eight years and is in charge of teacher appreciation, said the end of the year event aims to recognize all teachers, but this year they also wanted to focus on Lawley and Hooper’s influence in the community.
“They’ve left a sense of work ethic that both of them exhibit,” Towery said. “…They’ve been around so long they’ll definitely have left their hornet stamp.”
Rising senior Joseph Glenn has been in band since freshman year and has been taught by Lawley the past three years. He said it will be strange having a different band director for his last year at Chelsea, but he has learned a lot from Lawley’s instruction.
“He just wants the best out of us,” Glenn said. “… He works just as hard, if not harder, than us [the students].”
On Friday, May 13, Lawley conducted his final band performance. During that performance, Glenn said everyone worked hard to not get emotional, but could not hold out after the band — including some of Lawley’s former students — played Amazing Grace. Lawley started to cry, Glenn said, and then the rest of them did as well.
The end of year celebration luncheon started with a presentation of a faculty card and gift to Lawley and to Hooper, and the rest of the afternoon included fellowship and reflecting on fond memories, Towley said.