Earlene was a teacher for 37 years at Royal Valley High School. She made many friends and a few adversaries. Her disputes were always resolved in a gracious manner. Maybe the resolution was due to her look, yes, the look or call it the stare she gave when she was displeased or annoyed. All of her students and cohorts who had worked with her for more than a day knew “the Look”. In other words, you could read that look and know you were wrong, most of the time. She taught her husband that at times you should just let it be.
One of the administrators, JR, said “Earlene was the toughest opponent he has ever had but yet they were good friends working together in education for the good of the district. Royal Valley lost a dedicated, capable, talented teacher when she retired.
According to several of the administrators of USD #337, Earlene was second in command when it came to understanding the growth, technology, and the district’s budget, because she was the head negotiator for the teachers’ union for years, armed with her own creative spreadsheets and of course her patented “stare”.
Earlene had a Bachelor of Arts from Washburn University, majoring in French, Spanish, and Education. She earned a Master’s in Computers In Education from Lesley College, Cambridge, MA. At Washburn she was the president of the Independent Student Society—ISS. She once called ISS the inebriated student society but as educators we know what ISS really means “in school suspension”.
She taught Spanish, French, photography, math, computer programing including HTML and BASIC, and was the technology coordinator for years. She was the Junior Class Sponsor organizing the Prom for many years. During which, she and her husband enjoyed a little dancing. She received the “Distinguished Service Award” in May 2011 just before retiring.
She loved music and inspired her husband to love music too. She played the trumpet and the French horn. They formed their own band, the Fairlawn Road Swing Band and joined The Topeka Polka Band, the Topeka Big Band, and loved riding and playing on the Midwestern Bandwagon. The yearly Royal Valley Christmas Party and Friday night band practices hosted by Earlene and Ned created many great memories.
The last few weeks of her life her head rested on a pillow given to her by Melissa Holloman. The pillow expressed her feelings for music. “Music Speaks What Cannot Be Expressed, Soothes The Mind, Heals The Heart And Makes It Whole, Flows From Heaven To The Soul”
She was certainly "One of a Kind". We will miss you and always love you.
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