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Ocotillo Elem. teacher retires after 31 years

Posted at 4:15 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 20:16:44-04

After more than three decades, one teacher in the Vail School District is retiring. Her current and former students greeted her today with an emotional send off.

The school bell rings, signaling the end of Leslie Shechter's last day of teaching. Shechter has been a third grade teacher at Ocotillo Ridge Elementary School for 31 years; an accomplishment that has allowed her to see her former students grow up and become parents.

As one of her first students, Ami Cunningham said she's grateful to have Shechter in her life, and now in her daughter's life, as she was in the final class Shetcher taught.

"She is really special to me. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was eight years old. And I was in her class. And she brought so much comfort in my chaotic life, at the time. To be able to have her again and to see her on a daily basis, its just been amazing this year," said Cunningham.

She taught third grade for her entire 31 year career. Her current third graders said she always makes everything fun.

"I feel a little bit emotional about it. I would give her some wishes to have a good retirement and to always stay like she is because she's always a nice, fun teacher," said Jiana Zimmerman, Cunningham's daughter and student of Shechter.

Parents presented Shechter with a box filled with notes of appreciation from her students, past and present.

"I don't know if I'm going to handle retirement very well. Just coming around the corner and seeing everybody is just - it makes me feel like yes I have made a difference in these kids' lives and in these parents. Just thank you everyone. I feel loved. A good way to go," said Shechter.