Teacher's 33-year career ends in a school party

NEIGHBORS

June 20, 1994|By CINDY PARR

In September 1960, John F. Kennedy debated Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro addressed the United Nations, Ted Williams hit his last homer against the Baltimore Orioles, and Mabel Braune was beginning her teaching career at Sandymount Elementary School in Finksburg.

Twenty-eight years old and full of enthusiasm, Mrs. Braune walked into her first classroom with a desire to make a difference in the lives of the students she would touch.

Now in June 1994, Mabel Braune is saying goodbye not only to her many students past and present, but also to the school she called home for 33 years.

As her teaching career came to an close last week, Mrs. Braune was the center of attention at an open house held in her honor at the school Tuesday.

Several hundred people attended the three-hour gathering to congratulate Mrs. Braune on her retirement.

Mrs. Braune, who is 61 and the mother of three, said the decision to retire did not come easily.

"It was a hard decision. I felt like I would be giving up a second family," she said. "This [teaching] is a service, and you feel that you can reach children's lives and make an impact on them."

Originally interested in missionary work, Mrs. Braune said it was a suggestion from her mother that led to a career in teaching.

"My mother suggested teaching to me after seeing an advertisement for teachers," she recalled. "I went to the school superintendent at the time and applied for a job.

"He suggested that I take some more courses since I only had two years of college. I took a few summer courses in reading and math, [received teaching certification] and then he gave me a job."

Mrs. Braune went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in education from Towson State University in 1973 and a master's degree as a reading specialist from Western Maryland College in 1978.

She taught a variety of elementary topics to more than 1,000 children who attended Sandymount.

Certainly after teaching more than three decades at the same school, it's understandable that more than one generation of the same family would sit in a Mabel Braune classroom.

William Albert Uhler Sr. was in the first class Mrs. Braune taught in 1960. The 42-year-old Finksburg resident recalled his fourth-grade teacher as one of "the best."

"What I can remember about her was that she was a lot of fun. She always played with the kids," Mr. Uhler said. "She was my favorite teacher. She wasn't anything like the other teachers. She stood out. Every time I think of elementary school, I think of her."

Another member of Mr. Uhler's family experienced Mrs. Braune's influence during this past year, her last year at Sandymount.

William Albert Uhler Jr., who graduated from fifth grade last week, had Mrs. Braune for math and social studies.

When asked if he liked Mrs. Braune, the shy 10-year-old smiled broadly and said, "She's a good teacher. She takes the time to explain things in math."

Mrs. Braune may be retiring, but her desire to teach will not end as she pursues another love.

"As far as the future, my husband and I have toyed with the idea of teaching on an Indian reservation since I have always had a great love for Indians. I could still put to good use what I have learned. After all, they say once a teacher, always a teacher," she said.

*

From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the Bear Branch Nature Center will present a program on "Bats of America." It will feature guest speaker Bill Kulp, who will enlighten participants on the world of bats through a video presentation and a live bat.

All ages are invited to register for this free program.

Information or to register: 848-2517.

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