Retired SMS teacher gives back at VFES to encourage future generations of learners

Retired SMS teacher gives back at VFES to encourage future generations of learners

Even though Rhonda LaMaster retired from the classroom at Scott County School District 2, she has not given up helping future generations of students learn the value of their education.

“The kids need to see positive faces outside of the teachers and the principals,” said LaMaster, who is a volunteer in the Watch Dads Of Great Students, or the Watch D.O.G.S. program, at Vienna-Finley Elementary School.

The VFES Heroes program gives parents, relatives and community members the chance to serve the students and the school all while creating positive role models for the students.

“As a retired teacher, I know it’s very important to have lots of volunteers,” LaMaster said.

Three years ago, LaMaster went back to the classroom to help and to show her two grandchildren, who were attending VFES, that their education was important to her.

“I like to be in the classroom,” the former middle school math teacher said.

Each month, LaMaster starts her day back at school, standing on the sidewalk in front of the school to help with the morning car line. She helps the students being dropped off to school exit their vehicles. She makes sure she greets them with a smile on their face and encourages them that their school day will be positive.

After the school day officially begins, she visits the school counselor, Holly Asdell, to see what she can do to help. Some days, it is cutting items for bulletin boards; other days, it is working in the classroom alongside the teachers; and sometimes, it is both.

“Last week, I helped make pine cone and peanut butter bird feeders,” LaMaster said. The bird feeder was an activity for the second-grade students as they learned about birds of prey and visited Hardy Lake to see the raptor rehabilitation center.

Even though she is not teaching middle school math, LaMaster is still helping students learn their arithmetic by using Accelerated Math at VFES.

“I love to watch kids learn, especially in my own grandchildren,” LaMaster said. “We want them to know that what they are doing is important.”

She also spends time with the students on the playground. She watches the children play, gives them a push on the swing, and plays with them. LaMaster wants the children to associate her face as a positive, adult one.

“Some children don’t have these positive role models at home,” LaMaster said. “We are helping our kids to grow up to be good citizens.”

At the end of the school day, LaMaster returns home until the next month when she can invest her time and talents into her grandchildren’s generation of learners. Her granddaughter is now in middle school, her grandson is in second grade, and she has another grandchild, who is not old enough to start school but will one day attend VFES.

“I have a long life at Vienna-Finley,” LaMaster said.

LaMaster continues to give back to the school district where she once taught, encouraging the next generation of learners to be successful. At Scott County School District 2, LaMaster’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.