Retiring Richmond teacher’s last lesson beautifies neighborhood

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — School is out for summer break but our Above and Beyond the Classroom segment continues. One teacher is now retired from Richmond Public Schools but not before leaving her students something to remember her by.

Mrs. Pat Kite’s third-grade classroom at Fox Elementary School has been busy all year.

Mrs. Pat Kite

“I actually love planning lessons, I’m kind of a geek about it,” Kite said. “I challenge myself to incorporate as many different learning styles as I can: music, or drama, or movement, technology and then I get a kick out of how the students react to that.”

Her students say she gives them practical advice. “You need to have a proper handshake because you can’t have like a noodle hand handshake because no one will want to hire you,” said Mrs. Kite’s student Makaliah Barber.

Makaliah Barber

And it’s the small things that let them know she cares.

“Yes she does care about us and she always lets us go to the bathroom when we need to go to the bathroom,” Elsa Hoekstra said.

Elsa Hoekstra

That’s why Mrs. Kite decided to have the last class of her career, at her school on Strawberry Street, plant some strawberries.

“This particular activity, we planted strawberries in tree wells, is a culmination of science, social studies, math and language arts,” Mrs. Kite said. “They had to do some research to find out the best soil, they had to look at soil samples to determine what we needed to add to make the strawberries to grow.”

So her students have been shoveling, watering, and showing the plants lots of love.

“We were looking for a community service project and so we thought, ‘hey, why not beautify the neighborhood with our strawberry plants?”‘ Mrs. Kite said.

Right now, the plants are just beginning to bud but by next school year, there will hopefully be strawberries — something the students can see and be reminded of Mrs. Kite.

“They’re going to be beautiful!” Elsa Hoekstra said.

Mrs. Kite said now that she’s retired, she plans to do some traveling and spend time with her grandson. She also says she’s writing a book about 27 years of teaching.

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