TOWNSEND -- On the final day of school, longtime teacher Sue Little knew it was only a matter of hours before she would bid Hawthorne Brook Middle School goo-bye.
She was retiring after 36 years of teaching.
"At Hawthorne Brook, I taught mostly seventh and eighth grade math," she said. "I was on the original staff at Hawthorne Brook. I have been here since it was built.
"I've been a mentor to so many student teachers," she recalled. Before the middle school's construction, she was at Spaulding Memorial School for a year as a class assistant to Jean Sobel.
"It's bittersweet," said Little. "I'm going to miss everyone here. But I am also happy to start a new chapter in my life."
She has been invited back to Singapore by the Education Ministry. She will be there for 10 days.
"In 2006, I was the keynote speaker there," she said. She will be working with teachers from across the country.
"I also have other personal goals," she said. "I am going back to school for web design and app program writing. I am working on writing math books and on writing a book on teaching math strategies. I believe it's important to have a fresh outlook."
Little continued, "I have truly enjoyed working with the students, the parents, the staff of Hawthorne Brook. People that build buildings, you get to see the building right away. With kids, it takes awhile. It's wonderful to see students grow up over a period of time, and later become parents, have kids. You get to see the finished product. Sometimes I see former students and think, 'I had a part in their lives.' It's a wonderful feeling.
"So many great kids have gone through here," Little said. "I am proud to have my stamp upon the school. All the teachers here, many people who work here are very gifted. ... a lot of brilliant people. I have made so many friends. The other teachers have made an impact upon my life. You learn from everyone. I hope they have enjoyed laughing with me, too.
"Thank you to everyone. It's been my joy and pleasure," said an emotional Sue Little.
Looking to the future, she smiled and said, "I am not ruling out eventually teaching at a private school, to give back. I know I'm going to want to go back and teach.
"But right now, I want to spend time with my family," she said. "My mother has Parkinson's. I want to help take care of her. I have a son in California, and one son in the local area. I have two great sons, I want to spend time with them."
With a lot of goals and plans for the years to come, Little said, "I don't know how I'm going to get it all done. But I'm going to enjoy trying."