Faculty and friends of BIC teachers Linda Smith and Coty Cornish celebrated their long careers recently at several retirement parties. On May 23, both Smith and Cornish were presented plaques from Superintendent George Edd Holland in appreciation of their many years of service. The presentation, held at the district luncheon on the West Elementary campus, evoked both tears and laughter from the two retiring teachers.
A retirement reception was held in Smith's honor at the home of Bob and Shirley Grisham in Jonesboro earlier in the month. Co-workers, family members, friends, and former students came to the party in order to wish her well in her retirement. The BIC West faculty also gathered at Lazarri's restaurant in Jonesboro to say goodbye to their friend and colleague.
Smith began her teaching career 33 years ago at Caraway. After eight years teaching kindergarten, she moved to the Monette School District as a second grade teacher. For the past 25 years, she has remained at the school, where her husband of 33 years, Lynn Smith, also serves as district media specialist. The Smiths have one daughter, Tara, who is carrying on the family tradition of education by teaching biology at Valley View.
The proprietor of a specialized monogramming business, The Apple Basket, Smith will likely stay very busy during her retirement. In addition to her business, she serves as a Sunday school teacher and choir member at Monette First Baptist Church, is president of the Alpha Nu chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, and enjoys golf, sewing, painting, arts and crafts and reading.
"I will miss my friends at school, but I want the opportunity to explore other pursuits in depth for which I have never had the time," Smith noted.
The faculty of BIC High School commemorated the outstanding career of their associate with a fish fry on May 24 in the home economics department. In addition to a delicious meal, Cornish and her husband Bill were treated to a slide show of photographs and quotes from former students compiled by Lynn Smith. Other members of the staff also presented Cornish with retirement gifts, including a quilt and a money tree. Following the gathering, Cornish said that she was "overwhelmed" by the generosity of the staff.
Cornish began her career as an English teacher at Monette High School in 1975, after staying home for several years to raise her children, Cindy and Brayde. She continued to serve as head of the school's English department since the formation of the Buffalo Island Central School District in 1984.
While they will maintain their residence in Monette, Mr. and Mrs. Cornish plan to spend most of their time at their cabin on the White River near Mountain View. They are also looking forward to spending more time with their family. Their son Brayde resides in Monette, as does their granddaughter Morgan Milligan. A recent BIC honor graduate, Morgan will be entering ASU as a freshman. Their daughter Cindy and her husband Danny Smith live in Weiner with their son Cody.