By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
In the cafeteria of the New Testament Christian School, a table near the entrance was draped in a purple tablecloth and laden with decorations, gift bags and certificates of appreciation. In the kitchen, some of the faculty were busy getting the informal, impromptu lunch of chili and hot dogs ready; after having made her decision only a few days earlier, 20-year veteran teacher Glenda Hale was retiring from New Testament Christian School, and had requested no speeches and “nothing fancy” for the Jan. 5 occasion.
Preparing for her longtime friend and associate to retire was “very heart-wrenching,” said Elaine Doyle, Principal of NTCS, as she finished the lettering on a chocolate sheet cake.
“She has always been excellent at everything she did,” said Doyle’s husband Pat, pastor of New Testament Church. Speaking of Hale and all the teachers who work at NTCS, he added, “This is a sacrifice they’ve made every day.”
Glenda Hale began 20 years ago as a volunteer teacher with NTCS, only a few years after it opened in 1988, and before there was any pay involved. At that time, the school was so small, she taught students individually; now the students are in small classes.
Her husband William is from Madison, but Glenda came here from the Tampa area. She and her husband have two adult daughters, Charlotte, who is a graduate of NTCS, and Debbie, who lives in Tampa with the Hales’ two grandchildren. The couple also owns a beloved Doberman named Zeke.
Hale taught “little bit of everything” at NTCS, including math and Bible classes, but concentrated on history and English; she mostly taught the middle-school-to-junior-high level.
Adrian Peters, a 21-year-old recent graduate of NTCS and Florida State University, is transitioning into filling the vacancy left by Hale’s retirement. He had already been teaching two days a week at the school last semester, and Principal Doyle spoke very highly of him and his work.
As the students filed into the cafeteria class by class and grade level by grade level, a celebratory atmosphere grew. There were no speeches, but the fifth and sixth graders had prepared a very short skit, which they performed for their departing teacher.
At its conclusion, they all shouted in unison, “We love you, Miss Glenda!”