Homer and Kay Craig were honored Sunday, June 1, with a retirement reception in the Buffalo Island Central home economics room. The last 18 years of their long teaching careers have been spent at Buffalo Island Central where Mr. Craig served as high school principal and Mrs. Craig taught in the elementary school from 1990-2003 before returning to special education at BIC High School.
Family, friends, students, and co-workers (past and present) stopped by to wish them well and offer thanks for their dedication to educating young people.
Mr. Craig has given 36 years to education. He started teaching in 1972 at Missco High School in West Ridge as boys basketball coach and later coach/principal. He worked at Missco for 14 years. Missco High School annexed with Manila in the summer of 1986 and Mr. Craig worked as assistant high school principal in Manila for two years. In the fall of 1988 he was hired by the Strawberry School District as high school principal where he worked for two years. He accepted the high school principal's position at Buffalo Island Central in 1990.
"The people of Buffalo Island are simply great," Mr. Craig said. "I have had the opportunity to work with many outstanding teachers, parents, and students. I will always be appreciative to the Buffalo Island Central School Board and to Mr. Holland, superintendent, for giving me the opportunity to work for the people of Buffalo Island Central.
"I have a simple philosophy - I strive to treat all students with respect and at the same time be fair. Education should always be about the students. If we lose that aspect, we should not be in the education business."
Mrs. Craig has taught for 26 years.
"It is a hard field to leave because it has been my life," she said. "It has been both a joy and a challenge."
She started her teaching career in 1982 at Missco in the elementary area and continued until 1988 after Missco annexed with Manila. In 1988 she left Manila and went to Williford High School where she began teaching special education classes.
"Teaching special education became my true passion," she said. She started teaching science and math at Buffalo Island Central East Elementary in 1990.
"By 2003 the old passion for special education was calling my name and a position became available at the BIC High School," she said. "With great joy I accepted the job. Twenty-six years have flown by. My BIC peers have given me until December to be back into teaching. My philosophy in education is simple - begin on the level where the student is, and take him/her to the next level, and the next, and the next.
"Mr. Craig said we will always be Mustangs because, Mustangs, Mustangs are the best!"
Mrs. Craig said she will miss her co-workers but she will "really" miss her students.
"My class has worked so hard the last five years and I appreciate each one of them. I will miss them."
The Craigs are moving to Lawrence County in the small community of Powhatan, near Newark. Mr. Craig plans on golfing, golfing, and then golfing some more. Mrs. Craig has a nephew who teaches at Newark and she plans on volunteering one day a week in his classroom. There is also a nursing home in Walnut Ridge and she hopes to volunteer one day a week.
They also have some travel plans in their future including a trip to the Dakotas and to Alaska.
Between the two of them they have given 62 years to the students they have taught, coached, and guided through school. They have touched a lot of lives through those years and will be leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.