Mrs. Maureen Stuka retires from Waxhaw Elementary

Mrs. Stuka's current and former students (sitting in back) join her daugheter's, Mrs. Plyler's, Second Grade class in the Waxhaw Elementary Gym during Mrs. Stuka's surprise retirement party.

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Mrs. Stuka’s current and former students (sitting in back) join her daugheter’s, Mrs. Plyler’s, Second Grade class in the Waxhaw Elementary Gym during Mrs. Stuka’s surprise retirement party.
Office Vic Montalvo (left) stands while Mrs. Stuka (center) listens to Austin Burns (right) give a speech at her surprise retirement party.
Mrs. Stuka (left) is surprised by current and former students during her retirement party.

Mrs. Maureen Stuka retired this year from Waxhaw Elementary School, where she has spent the last 25 years teaching and making a difference.  At the end of the school year, Office Vic Montalvo, of the Waxhaw Police Department and school Dare Officer, organized a surprise retirement celebration.  Former students, who are now in middle, high school, and beyond, came together with former principals, school secretaries, parents of former students, and Mrs. Stuka’s own family to thank her for the impact she has made.  Mrs. Stuka shared, “It was unbelievable with many meaningful touches.

Mrs. Stuka moved to Waxhaw in 1992 when her husband became the Air Force Liaison to the Charlotte Air National Guard unit.  She was hired by Waxhaw Elementary School as an interim teacher before being brought on full time to teach Third Grade.  After 15 years as a Third Grade teacher, she moved up to Fifth Grade where she spent another ten years teaching.  One of her favorite memories was “watching my fifth graders build the hydraulic robots that I bought for them.  They worked in cooperative teams and used great problem solving skills.  Another great memory was when this past year’s class organized a drive to collect money to donate to Water for South Sudan after we read A Long Walk to Water.  They created a video presentation along with a script and then went in partnerships to the 3-5 grade classrooms to explain our goal.  They left water bottles to be used to collect donations in each class they visited.  They raised close to $500 in two weeks.”

Eric Doan, Principal at Waxhaw Elementary School, recalled one of the most impactful things that Mrs. Stuka shared with him.  “The day I first met her, instead of me telling her what I wanted to accomplish as a principal within the school, she told me what I needed to do to be a successful principal in her school and I listened to every word she had to say and followed those words very closely for the last 4 years.”  He, along with the students and faculty at Waxhaw Elementary School, will miss her kind spirit, determined attitude and never-quenching thirst to get the most out of her students.  “She is a one of a kind who followed our motto everyday of being a difference maker in the lives of others, students and faculty.”

“This is a bittersweet decision because I love to teach and I miss it already.  But I am unable to balance my school and family life.  I can only teach by giving 100%, it’s time now to give 100% to my family.  They have been waiting patiently for their turn. I look forward to family times, reading, yard work, organizing and cleaning–all the things that have been put on a back burner during the school years.  And then, once the state-mandated 6 month restriction to not work in the school system is over, I will be back volunteering at Waxhaw Elementary.”  Mrs Stuka will miss teaching the most.  “I thrive on sharing knowledge, but I also try to impart a work ethic to my students.  They know I work very hard for them, but they also know that I thoroughly love working hard for them.  That’s what I hope for them, that they will choose a goal or career that they will work very hard at–and will love every minute of working hard.”

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