A retirement reception was held Wednesday afternoon in honor of Manila elementary teacher Carol Benson. Benson has taught in the Manila elementary school for 22 years in the fourth grade, one year in the Manila third grade, and served as a teacher's aide for three years. She taught Social Studies and Science for the last several years of her career. She taught one year (her first year) in the Mt. Home School District.
Mrs. Benson, with the encouragement of her family, decided to go to college when her children were young. She was among some of the first students to attend the newly formed Mississippi County Community College. She started MCCC classes in 1976 and graduated from Arkansas State University in 1980.
Co-workers presented her with a memory book full of pictures and notes of well wishes from her last students. The dedication of the book to her was inscribed:
"As your retirement approaches, we are terribly sad to see you go.
You have been an inspiration to everyone you have encounters. You have touched the lives of so many children throughout your years as a kind, dedicated and loving teacher.
Even though you will be giving up a part of your life to start another, always remember that you have made a difference in the lives of many.
For this devotion, we thank you and we will miss you."
Superintendent Charolette Wagner presented Benson with a plaque for her years of dedicated service to the Manila School District.
"We will miss you," Wagner said.
Benson thanked all of her friends, family and co-workers for being there.
"I have enjoyed teaching and it feels good to be teaching with some of my first students," Benson said. "I always told my students that someday I would sit down and let them teach and now that has happened. I will miss everyone here."
Mrs. Benson plans to spend more time with her husband, Nelson, children and grandchildren.
The Bensons have two children, Ray and Rachel, and four grandchildren. Ray and his wife, Jennifer, live in Manila and have two children, Jenna Benson who will start kindergarten this year, and Neal Benson who is 3. Rachel and her husband, Scott Gifford, also live in Manila and they have two children, Miles Gifford 3, and Meg Gifford who is one year old.
Out-of-town family members attending the reception for Mrs. Benson included her brothers and sisters-in-law, Scott and Nancy White and Bob and Bobbie White, of Ripley, Tenn., her sisters, Sue Chalk of Ripley, Tenn., and Doris Brown, of Memphis; her great-nephew Harding Zills and her niece Sandy Brown Turner of Memphis.
Refreshments were served and guests spent the afternoon thanking Mrs. Benson for her years of service and wishing her well in her retirement.
A memory table displaying Mrs. Benson's life in photographs and several scrapbooks were displayed.