My mother, Marlene Rowe, will be retiring from her role in education as a principal and former teacher this June 2011. She has served as an educator for 39 years.  This past week, my family and I along with many extended family members, former teachers, students and friends joined together for a catholic mass in her honor and then several presentations were given.  My brother, Todd, and I were asked to share a few words about our mom.  The following are my words as I remember them that I shared from the podium.  It was an honor to stand before my mom and talk directly to her as her son and share just a few of the ways she has impacted my life.

100_6197“This past week, I registered my first child for college.  As my son and I were attending the orientation session, one of the admissions directors said, “the reason to finish your college degree is that education can go with you wherever you go.  Nobody can take it from you.  Once a graduate, always a graduate.”  Immediately that hit me because it was true that no one can take anything from your mind.

As I thought about my mom and what I would share today, what were some of the things she instilled in my mind and heart that can’t be taken away.  Three things came to the forefront: Faith, Family, and Education.

First there is Faith.  The foundation of my faith comes from my mother and her example.  All of her life, my mother has walked consistently as a Christian woman.

Next is Family.  As individuals, we live our own lives and start as a son/daughter then a husband/wife and end as a father/mother.  But as a son or daughter, we actually watch our parent’s lives in reverse.  My mom has been there to love and encourage me and I seem to experience this more and more even in to my 40’s.  If you are in the 8th grade, please raise your hand.  Listen to me when I say, your mother is much wiser than you think she is right now and you will appreciate her in a few short years.

As a wife, I saw commitment from my mom.  She showed me that she values marriage.  Marriage isn’t easy but it is worth it.

As of these last several years, I have observed her as a daughter.  Many of you know that we lost my grandmother Margaret Manley a few years ago.  During that time and still today, with my granddad Bud Manley at 95 years old, I have seen my mom love and care for her parents.  Some of you students have made cards during holidays to send to the residents of the Forum Home close to the school.  While her job at school ends every day, she then goes every day to see granddad and to care for him.

While I didn’t personally value Education and the opportunity it offered in my early years., I did enjoy my social time at school vs. striving for the grades.  But when I think about my mom’s 39 years as an educator, dedication is a word that sums it up.  Through her dedication as a teacher and administrator my mom has provided the opportunity of life change for her students through education.

This day is a celebration for you mom.  Congratulations for all you have accomplished!  I love you.”