By Doug La Rocque
When you walk in the front doors of the Berlin Elementary School, you are suddenly overwhelmed with a bouquet of color. Up and down the main hallway is a dazzling display of art created by the students of the school, in a tribute to Jacqueline Monette, more affectionately known since her days at the old Grafton Elementary School, as Ms. Jackie. Thirty years she has spent teaching the love of her life, “art,” to the young students in the Berlin School system. Twenty-one of those years were spent traveling among the district’s four elementary schools before she was able to put down roots in just one building for the last nine.
Ms. Jackie is retiring at the end of the school year, to pursue that love of her life. She tells The Eastwick Press she hopes to open her own studio and perhaps write a book as well as develop kits to help inspiring young teachers learn the best ways to guide children to acquire a love for art the way she does.
Of course, after 30 years, one develops some fond memories of all the time spent in the classroom. For Ms. Jackie, there are two things she points to proudly. Foremost, “the joy I get watching children learn to love art.” Her own growth as an educator and as a person is also high on that list. And, “I’ll never forget all those clothespin dolls.”
If you get the chance, stop by the school to take in the beauty of the art exhibit yourself. And if you see Ms. Jackie around Petersburgh or Berlin, you might wish her well in the next chapter of her life, with a “Well done, Ms. Jackie, well done.”