Loy Norrix Celebrates Five Outstanding Retirees

Leah Dunham

The Loy Norrix staff and students will be missing 5 impactful women next school year, who have all made positive changes in our school.
Loy Norrix thanks all the retirees for their effort and passion they have put into our, and many other schools in the past years. Your talents and additions to the LN family will be missed!
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Mrs. Barbara Wiedmayer has been a KPS district nurse for 23 years, and moved to Loy Norrix 14 years ago with the Continuing Education for Young Families program (CEYF), where she worked to continue to coordinate the health of pregnant and parenting young women with their children. Her position evolved into overseeing the health needs of the children in schools, including Loy Norrix.
“My best memory at Loy Norrix was the first day that I was introduced to the wonderful childcare staff and center when my colleagues and I made our first transitioning visit from CEYF to LNHS. … I was also fortunate enough to have my office next to the childcare where I was able to interact with and see toddlers and preschool go on to graduate kindergarten… including my own two grandchildren!”
Mrs. Wiedmayer’s most challenging situation has been the triaging of many students that required her to be in many places at once. Also specifically the months of September, October and November, in terms of getting everyone on board with each individual care plan.There was always someone to help her out when things got too busy. Also, the Loy Norrix Childcare Center is the “best kept secret in Kalamazoo!”
She will miss the children, big and small, and the friendships she’s made along the way.
Mrs. Susan Benton has been a counselor here at Loy Norrix for the past 22 years. She and her close friend and fellow counselor, Mrs. Rebecca Learner obtained their master’s degrees at Western Michigan University and then went on to team teach elementary school, finally ending up at Norrix.
Mrs. Benton’s favorite memories have been accomplishments of students such as difficult situations, getting into college, scholarships and passing their classes.
Her most challenging situations were telling students about a death or that they’re not graduating. The large caseload was also sometimes difficult to handle, as she would have around 400 students at a time.Mrs. Benton says that being at Loy Norrix and the relationships she’s formed has enriched her life deeply.
I feel so grateful to have had the chance to be part of such a loving and inspiring community”She will miss the counseling department and staff, as well as students, and the funny, unique experiences she has encountered.
11-10-17 051 (1).JPGMs. Mary Hentschl-Early has been on the Loy Norrix childcare staff for 14 years. She moved from the Old Central building (what is now KAMSC) with the CEYF program, along with Mrs. Wiedmayer.
Hentschl-Early’s favorite memories have been the smiles and hugs of children, which she got many of over the years.
Her most challenging situations where the teen’s parent was not supportive of their educational pursuit.
“Being in this career has confirmed for me the importance of Early Childhood Education. Brain development starts before birth, but the first three years of life are critical years for positive, nurturing experiences for every baby/toddler.”
She will miss the children, but also the busyness of the job, as no two days were the same.
Brandon (2)
Mrs. (Magistra) Barbara Felkel has been teaching Latin at Loy Norrix for 37 years. She was previously teaching Latin at Kalamazoo Central in 1974, where she taught for 6 years. All in all, she has been teaching latin for 50 years!
Felkel’s best moments were trips to Italy with her students, as well as when students go on to study Latin in college. Two of which have expressed interest in continuing the Latin program at LN as she retires, “That would be absolutely indescribable – to have an LN grad continue the tradition for excellence in Latin here!”
No particularly difficult situations came to mind, as her “time at Loy Norrix has been wonderful”.
“I have been able to teach a subject I love and to convince students that Latin is worth their time and effort – that the rewards will be great.  I have had enthusiastic students, supportive parents, and helpful administrators”.
She will miss her students and wonderful colleagues, but NOT waking up at 5 a.m. every morning!
Also retiring: Ms. Valerie Mallory, a Life Management teacher at LN, who was not available for interview.