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Seven retirees left Honey Grove ISD with the students this year, bringing 225 years of combined experience with them. Pictured from right to left: Lyn Scott, 42 years; Pam Lochridge, 42 years; Ruth Ann Jones, 41 years; Jon Banker, 25 years; Rob Bowles, 14 years; Rhonda Barnes, 23 years; Tammy Whitlock, 38 years.

HONEY GROVE — As the school year wraps up and the summer sets in, seven Honey Grove ISD faculty and staff will take the opportunity to retire. With them, the district loses a combined total of 225 years of experience.

Those retiring include Lyn Scott, elementary counselor; Ruth Ann Jones, high school math and BETA sponsor; Pam Lochridge, high school English and theatre, UIL sponsor; Jon Banker, high school history teacher; Tammy Whitlock, high school English teacher; and Rob Bowles, janitorial staff and maintenance.

Jones has taught for 41 years, five at Windom ISD (now part of Honey Grove ISD), eight at Fannindel, and 28 at Honey Grove. During her career, she has taught both middle school and high school students in a variety of topics including shorthand, typing, business, biology and history. However, she is most known for her math instruction, which she taught for 40 years.

Jones also sponsored the Honey Grove Beta Club and coached UIL Number Sense, Calculator and Mathematics.

“I am known for telling students that it is better to be an hour early than a minute late. I also tell them that it doesn’t matter how much English, math, science or social studies you know; if you don’t know how to be kind and do things for others, it is worthless. This is the advice that I continue to give to all students,” she said.

Scott has been at Honey Grove ISD for 42 years, serving 20 as a teacher and 22 as a counselor. She has taught primarily elementary students.

“The highlight of my career has been the last two years I’ve spent working with my daughter, Ashely Odom, who became our elementary principal in 2020. I proudly watched as she navigated our campus through the Covid crisis while also supporting the teachers, parents and students through the challenges of virtual learning,” Scott said.

“My favorite memory is how excited our students were as they returned to school after it was shut down from Covid. They were so excited to see each other. Our students’ resiliency was evident as they complied with the mask wearing and all other required health procedures without complaining. We have the best kids ever,” she added.

Lochridge has been an educator for 42 years, most of them at Honey Grove. She also worked at Fannindel High School, Bells High School and Windom High School. She taught English from seventh through 12th grade, Pre-AP ninth and tenth, AP Literature & Composition, AP Language & Composition, journalism and theatre arts.

She was also the UIL academic coordinator and coach, One-Act Play director, Student Council sponsor, Beta co-sponsor/sponsor, SADD and the Middle School Cheerleader sponsor.

“Two words have been above my door at school or on my board for years: ‘Carpe Diem.’ I hope that everyone wakes up each day ready to ‘Seize the Day:’ wake up and make the most of every moment because we are never promised another,” Lochridge said.

Whitlock taught English, Pre-AP English II, AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition to high school students.

“Before ending my career in education in January, I was privileged to teach for 37 years — all at the same ISD that I attended and graduated from. I definitely bleed orange and white and will always consider myself a Honey Grove Warrior,” she said.

Whitlock was the adult sponsor for SADD and helped sponsor the Beta Club. She coached numerous UIL events including persuasive and informative speaking.

“The advice I would give to prior, current and future students is the same that I have always advocated: to find a life work to love, and this will bring happiness to every aspect of life. As much as I am loving retirement with my family, I feel so blessed to have had the fulfillment of a career in public education and to have shared life with so many students,” Whitlock said.

Barnes served as an elementary aide for 23 years at Honey Grove ISD. She worked primarily in the day care and pre-K.

Barnes had some favorite memories of the students she worked with. Her favorite part was “when you get hugs from them and they tell you they love you,” she said.

“Just be very compassionate and patient with them, and try to understand. You don’t know what their home life is like. You don’t know the challenges they might face on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

Banker taught sixth through 12th grade history, economics and government for 25 years at Honey Grove ISD. He was an assistant advisor for the Junior Beta Club for many years.

“Just as I would not try to identify just one highlight, I certainly could not isolate just one favorite memory. I have so many beautiful memories. I have so many former students who I now count among my friends,” he said of his prior students.

He also gave them advice for the future, saying: “Appreciate the differences in each other and love them accordingly.”

Bowles is retiring after 14 years working as a member of the janitorial staff and maintenance. Attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.

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