A’burg Public School says goodbye to retiring teachers

By Joel Charron

It was a bittersweet day for Debbie Ethier and Susan Silvaggio as they said goodbye to Amherstburg Public School and began retirement.

Last Monday morning the school honoured and celebrated the careers of Ethier and Silvaggio with an assembly. The school also planted two plant in their honour. A butterfly bush was planted for Silvaggio while a burning bush tree was planted for Ethier.

Either has taught for 31 years, 28 of them at Amherstburg Public, the others were spent at Maplewood Public School in Essex.

Silvaggio taught for 30 years, with 24 years being spent at Amherstburg Public. She also spent time in Tecumseh, LaSalle and Kingsville.

Amherstburg Public is the same school that Silvaggio attended as a student.

“It really has come full circle,” said Silvaggio. “I started my education with Amherstburg Public and now it’s time to say goodbye.”

The last day of school was filled full of mixed emotion for Susan Silvaggio and Debbie Ethier as they retired at the end of the school year.

Silvaggio and Ethier both said it was a little difficult walking into the school for the final time this week.

“We are a family here. There were a lot of tears and a lot of hugging,” said Ethier. “I felt very good about everything but also it was a very bittersweet feeling.”

Both teachers have taught a variety of grades. Silvaggio’ said her career has broadened into teaching special need students. Ethier taught the primary grades and was recently the school’s drama teacher.

Both agree they are going to miss the children.

“The kids here are special,” said Ethier. “I’m really going to miss them.”

Being a music teacher, Ethier said she will still work with children through private lessons. However, now being retired Ethier said it will free up a lot of time to travel and hike.

“I already have the next year planned to travel,” joked Ethier.

Ethier said her and her husband plan to visit family, go hiking in New Mexico, a marathon in Columbus, Ohio and a trip to England.

Silvaggio said her and her husband Dom are headed to Italy for three weeks in the very near future. She also said she plans on taking up photography, spending time with her mother and help plan her son Stephen’s wedding.

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