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30 retire from local public schools

Retirees from the Vicksburg Warren County School District who attended Thursday night’s meeting are, back row from left, Gladys Winston, Eddie Wilkerson Jr., Marsha Brown, Kathy Conway, Sandra Brooks, James Knox and Lonnie Heard; middle from left, Nancy Curtis, Jackie Loyacono, Mattye Havard, Jo Ella Walls and Kraig Rittenhouse; and front from left, Lois Wilkerson, Rosie Wynn and Norma Reed. Reed was representing her late husband, Billy Reed. (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[05/18/01] Experience totaling 850 years was acknowledged Thursday night when this year’s retirees of the Vicksburg Warren School District gathered for a reception.

“We have an awful lot of good people retiring,” Superintendent Donald Oakes told about 100 guests and retirees at Warren Central. “This is a sad, glad time for all of us, and we wish the best for you.”

Thirty employees, including teachers, administrators and staff members, are retiring. One of 15 retirees who attended the ceremony, Lonnie Heard, received a standing ovation when his name was called.

Heard, who departs as a computer technician a job that didn’t exist when he started 28 years ago said it’s time for him to move on, but he will miss making the memories he has for three decades.

“My job is to work directly with the teachers,” he said. “I love them all they’re good people.”

Dana Tankersley, a computer teacher at Bowmar Elementary School, described Heard as a “grand wizard of computers” as she talked with him outside Warren Central’s gym Thursday evening. “I don’t know what we’ll do without him,” she said.

Jackie Loyacono, a 42-year educator who spent 32 of those years as Warren Central’s guidance counselor, said she’ll also miss the friends she’s made. “The people I work with are like my family,” she said. “And, I’m really going to miss the kids so badly.”

One of the honorees, Billy Reed, a 25-year educator who also taught at Warren Central, died in March, so his wife, Norma Reed, accepted his plaque from board president Zelmarine Murphy. “I feel it was an honor to accept his retirement,” she said.

Heard said he will ride horses at his farm near Tallulah, and Loyacono said she hopes to read some good books and have lunch with her friends.

“When you have been rejuvenated, please come back and see us once a month, twice a month, or even 30 days a month,” Murphy told the retirees and their supporters. “Please don’t forget us.”