Bittersweet Family Day as CAES bids farewell to Plunkard

Becky Plunkard has been with Chester-Andover Elementary School for 19 years — it’s been so long that she had to look back in her records to check, she said. Secretary, paraprofessional, special education teacher, substitute teacher, mentor, Respect Club adviser, special events  and after school activities coordinator. “I have kids that I remember when they were in kindergarten,” she said Friday evening, during the Parent-Teacher Organization’s Family Day activities. “Now, they are coming to school and bringing their kids here.”

While the CAES Family Day is an annual event, this year it was dedicated to Plunkard, who will be moving to Calgary in early July with her husband Stephen, a landscape architect and director with Stantec, an international planning and landscape firm.

The CAES campus was filled with kids bounding through the bright Bounce House, playing ball on the fields, getting their faces painted  and ate dinner with their parents, Plunkard spoke of her years with the school. As the memories flowed, she fought back tears. “I’m sure that there are a lot of people who love this school. But I don’t think anyone loves it more than I do,” she said.

During a farewell presentation in which several teachers and students spoke lovingly about Plunkard and her work, teacher Toby Treu said, “Every child she made feel valued and valuable.”

Plunkard’s wish for the school: “I do hope CAES hires someone to do my job. The kids love doing community service,” she said. “Kids want to help.”
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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor for 30 years, having worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. Greg Hart says:

    Becky’s contributions to the school and the Chester community have been remarkable. Two programs in particular stand out in my opinion — the Respect Club and the mentoring program. I don’t know if she initiated these programs, but I know how integral she is and was for there continuation. Both programs promote values that are lacking in many communities. But because of Becky, they have flourished at Chester-Andover Elementary School and Green Mountain Union High. Values like leadership, respect, volunteerism, philanthropy, responsibility and caring for the human family are now instilled in a generation of students that includes, gratefully, my own three children. Thank you Becky, for all you have done. Like you, I hope that someone is brought in to try to fill your shoes, hard as that may be. While you will be missed, we all surely wish you well in the next adventure in your life!