parents traditionally show their appreciation for teachers in June, but an exception was made on Teacher Appreciation Day this year to mark the 30th anniversary of Jeannie Gerdy.
Gerdy was surprised Tuesday afternoon by her second grade class and parents who planted a tree outside the West Caldwell school in her honor. At the base of the tree is a stone engraved, “Jeannie Gerdy, 30 Years of Service, 2012, Second Grade Class.”
Gerdy said for someone who talks a lot she was at a loss for words.
The stone was a gift of John Schomaker of West Caldwell who attended the dedication ceremony. Schomaker said two of his three children had Ms. Gerdy when they went through Washington.
“She’s the foundation of all these kids. She sets the tone,” he said.
Current Washington mom Julianne Grosso helped to co-ordinate the surprise, which brought Ms. Gerdy to tears.
Grosso began the brief ceremony with a quote from William Arthur Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
Another Washington parent, Melissa Ryder, said her son Weston is in Ms. Gerdy’s class this year.
“She is such a terrific teacher that I hope my younger one gets her as well,” Ryder said.
Students presented their teacher with a bouquet of flowers and posed for a picture to remember the day.
Washington School Principal Barbara Adams said she has been honored to work with Ms. Gerdy during the 11 years she has been at the school. Adams said she hoped Ms. Gerdy would be around for at least 11 more.