JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A Fletcher Middle School teacher spent her last day in the classroom Tuesday after four decades of teaching science.
"You know, this being the last day, I hear that song, 'I've had the time of my life'," said Mrs. Kathleen Poe.
After 42 years, thousands of students and numerous newspaper articles written about her and her students, Mrs. Kathleen Poe is retiring.
"I remember the little stories. I remember their heartbreaks, their high points. I remember some students I've lost in tragic ways," said Poe.
Mrs. Poe didn't always know she'd be a teacher.
She described herself as an introverted and shy student in school, but said while majoring in elementary education, an internship opened the door to her four-decade long career.
"I had this boy named Larry and Larry was like me. He didn't have a whole lot of friends, he really didn't have any. One day he and I worked up a magic trick and the whole class was like 'wow' and I could feel the whole room turn and I saw Larry's self esteem rise and I thought, you know, this is what I need to do," said Poe.
Poe spent her first seven years teaching in Tampa before moving to Jacksonville Beach.
Her grandson is her pride and joy, besides her students.
On her last day, some of those students came back to their favorite class and reminisced while they helped Mrs. Poe pack up.
"She said, 'I wanted to tell a chemistry joke but all the good ones Argon'," laughed former student, Eden Bort.
Bort then reminded us that Argon is an element in the periodic table.
Poe said she is honored her career has come to a close with the Mayor of Jacksonville Beach proclaiming June 5 "Kathy Poe Day".
"I tell the kids whatever you do in life you have to leave a mark," said Poe.
First Coast News