After roughly two decades of service, two members of the Destin Middle School staff have decided to step down and retire — Judy Hall and Joyce Pool.
Known as Ms. Judy to most, Hall has worked the front desk in the office for 20 years.
"Not many people work at a job that they love, I have had that pleasure," Hall said. "I love the kids, being here for 20 years afforded me the pleasure of watching the students grow to wonderful, talented young adults. A few of them have come back to teach and a few have enrolled their children at DMS. How rewarding is that?"
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Principal Grant Meyer has enjoyed working with Hall, who is the "resident front office manager."
"She is the first person that families meet when they register," Meyer said. "She keeps things running smooth."
Hall said she will miss everything about her job from the teachers, the administration, which she said is the best in the county, and of course the children.
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"I enjoyed helping them and was hopefully a part of their success in whatever roll they played," she said.
However, she said the time was right to retire.
Hall, who is 64, lives in Crestview on a working farm with horses, goats, chickens and a couple of cows.
"That in itself is a full time job," Hall said. "I want to enjoy the farm while I still can. Our world has changed so much since 1994 (when I started in the district). I want to enjoy the peace and sometimes quiet of the country.
"Sometimes you can’t teach old dogs new tricks," she added.
As for Pool, she is retiring after 19 years at Destin Middle.
She taught math the last few years, but before that she was worked with exceptional student education.
"I’m going to miss my colleagues for sure and the students," Pool said. "It was just a great school to teach in ... the staff there was just wonderful. The kids are great and the parents are too.
"I’m going to miss pretty much everything," she added.
Pool, who lives in Niceville, said she plans to spend a lot of time with her grandchildren and family during her retirement.
"I have seven grandchildren ... as a matter of fact I’m on the road right now taking some of them to soccer practice," Pool said.
Instead of a faculty retirement party, both Pool and Hall were treated to a drive-by retirement party at the school in recent weeks.
"It was great," Hall said, noting the great turnout.
"It was just beyond words," Pool said. "It was marvelous how so many of the teachers and students came by."
Pool said there were teachers that came by who are no longer at DMS but served alongside them over the years.
"It was really nice just to be able to say good bye to those teachers that I normally wouldn’t see," Pool said. "It was really a good day.
"I’m going to miss teaching because when you have that call on your life, it’s just hard to walk away from that," she added, noting she has taught a total of 35 years. "But I’m looking forward to a new chapter in life."
Principal Meyer said Pool was a "fabulous math teacher" who has shown "patience and a special touch to students that may need extra help."
Meyer said both Pool and Hall will be missed, "but they have earned their retirement. They will always be Marlins."