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Clinton Township, Macomb Township

Peers, family members surprise retiring teacher

March 6, 2013

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Friends and family members surprised retiring second-grade teacher Ellen Digiglio during the Feb. 25 Board of Education meeting. Digiglio spent 37 years as a teacher with Chippewa Valley Schools.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Retiring second-grade teacher Ellen Digiglio was moved to tears during the Feb. 25 Board of Education meeting after more than a dozen of her peers and family members surprised her while the board read a resolution honoring her work with the district.

While board members distracted her near the front of the meeting room, several of her colleagues and family sneaked in the back door.

“You see all the support you are getting?” said Board President George Sobah, revealing the packed room. “Look behind you.”

Digiglio taught for 37 years, spending 35 of them at Fox Elementary and the final two at Ottawa Elementary.

Duane Lockhart, the principal of Ottawa Elementary, said despite the relatively short amount of time Digiglio had spent at Ottawa, she has left her mark.

“We’re deeply appreciative of what you brought in a short time,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart said Digiglio had a passion for English-as-a-second-language students and students who were struggling inside the classroom.

“Words really don’t describe the impact that she’s had on the district,” Lockhart said.

Digiglio has been affiliated with the school district since she was 5. She said her father helped start the Chippewa school district and was one of the first board members.

“When my brother was old enough to go to school, there wasn’t a school for him to go to,” she said. “So my dad helped start the district. We have a long family history with Chippewa Valley.”

Superintendent Ronald Roberts, who is a neighbor of Digiglio, said she went into teaching for the right reason “and that was to meet the needs of children.”

The district presented Digiglio with a framed copy of her retirement resolution and the ceremonial school bell.

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