Retiring teacher moved by students’ surprise goodbye

Special Reports

SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s the end of the most challenging and unprecedented school year of our lifetime. We have heard from many seniors about what it’s like to graduate in 2020. But what’s it like to be a teacher who is retiring during the pandemic?

We’ve all had that one teacher who helped us to be better than we ever dreamed we could be. In South Glens Falls, that would be science teacher Judy Moffitt.

Marlee James, Emily Beames and Madison Corso are graduating seniors who attended Mrs. Moffitt’s college level forensic science class.

“I always had dreams to become a forensic scientist, but she pushed it a little more,” said Marlee.

For 28 years at South Glens Falls High, Mrs. Moffitt was known for her kindness and sense of fun. When the pandemic struck, she didn’t skip a beat teaching students online.

“She made senior year really enjoyable and less stressful,” said Madison.

Julia Corentto, a South Glens Falls grad and former student of Mrs, Moffitt’s, is now a nurse in the pediatric ICU at Albany Medical Center.

“I think she sparked a love of science in me,” Julia told NEWS10 ABC.

But this week, after nearly three decades, Judy Moffitt packed up her classroom for the very last summer break. She’s retiring.

NEWS10’s Anya Tucker interviewed Judy Moffitt about her retirement.

Anya: “How tough has this been for you to retire during a pandemic?”
Judy: “That has been challenging because I am a people person. You don’t get into this job unless you are a people person.”
Anya: “What will you miss most about teaching?”
Judy: “The love that you feel and I’m going to miss that opportunity to touch more people.”

Because the pandemic had stolen a much deserved big send off, Anya invited some of Mrs. Moffitt’s closest colleagues and students to give her a heartfelt surprise by sneaking in behind her during the interview.

Anya: “I talked with some of your colleagues and they told me many wonderful things about you, how you impacted their [students’] lives and their futures. Would you want to hear from them in person?”
Judy: “I would absolutely want to.”
Anya: “Would you turn around?”

As she turned around to see her students and fellow teachers, they all erupted in cheers.

“Oh my gosh, guys!” Judy exclaimed.

Some students wanted to tell Mrs. Moffitt just how they felt.

Student: “Science is not my thing. But you really encouraged me to get excited about it.”

Student: “Because of you, I am looking into colleges I think I’m going to get accepted to. You gave me so much more courage to do great things in life.”

And hopefully, this made up for that big retirement party that COVID-19 had canceled.

“When this is over, we are going to have a hug-fest alright? Because we deserve it,” Judy said.

So, cheers to Mrs. Moffitt.
And to all the Mrs. Moffitts in the world.
And most of all, Thank you!

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