GREENBELT — Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) likes to brag that they have some of the world’s greatest educators and they took the chance to show them off and celebrate their accomplishments at a dinner Thursday night. PGCPS employees from all across the county gathered at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt for the annual employee […]
GREENBELT — Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) likes to brag that they have some of the world’s greatest educators and they took the chance to show them off and celebrate their accomplishments at a dinner Thursday night.
PGCPS employees from all across the county gathered at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt for the annual employee recognition dinner. Teachers, specialists, maintenance workers and bus drivers filled the dinning hall, dressed in their Sunday best. Between them, hundreds of years of working in Prince George’s County schools were represented.
Kevin Maxwell, chief executive officer of PGCPS, said the school system puts together this night to thank the people who have served PGCPS so long and so well.
“It’s extremely important. People deserve to be recognized. They work very, very hard to support children in our schools and in our community and the little bit of a token of appreciation that we were able to give them tonight at this dinner and the small gifts that we give them, it means the world to them,” Maxwell said.
During the event each employee had the opportunity to be recognized. The emcees read off the employees’ bios before they walked down the runway to cheers and clapping. Once they reached the stage, they were greeted by the Prince George’s County Board of Education, who shook their hands, gave hugs and thanked them for their service. They also had a photo opportunity with Maxwell before they were handed a swag bag.
Some took well to the attention, others walked through the runway as quickly as they could, but each employee had a wonderful story of their time in PGCPS.
Some of the teachers have been in the school system longer than twice the age of their students. Some have watched generations stream through their classrooms. There were 13 employees with 45 or more years of service to the school system, 22 with 40 years, and 22 with 35 years. Two and a half pages of the night’s program were filled with those who have served PGCPS for 30 years and five and a half pages were filled with those retiring from the school system.
Lisa Farabaugh is one of those retirees. She has served the school system for 30 years and is currently the principal at Port Towns Elementary School in Bladensburg and was previously the principal at Rogers Height Elementary just next door.
“I actually started as a teacher back in 1986 at Rodgers Heights and left and did other things and then came back as principal,” she said.
Farabaugh said she has enjoyed being in Bladensburg and PGCPS for so long. She said she has seen the community “change tremendously” and built a strong relationship with the community along the way.
“I know have children at Port Towns whose parents were my children as a teacher at Roger Heights. So, that’s kind of a nice cycle to see,” she said.
Maxwell said he is absolutely amazed by the amount of time and effort PGCPS’s employees put into the school system.
“I know I’ve got a pretty good number of years in myself but there were a lot of people here tonight that have worked longer than I have, so you kind of look of them and go ‘wow,’” he said. “You know, it’s amazing that people really dedicate so much of their life to the work that they’ve done and the joy that they get from it.”
After retiring at the end of the school year, Farabaugh will move to Pennsylvania to take care of her mother. She said she was happy to be recognized at the event before leaving the school system and said it gave a little validation to all the work she has done over the years. Though, she said, the teachers are not in it for the recognition.
“I’m certainly happy to be retiring and moving on to something else, but it’s also very bittersweet to be leaving my staff behind, my students behind,” she said.