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Retiring Veteran Teachers Look Toward a Future of Community Service

By Jianna Beasley & Karissa Jones, Clarion Staff

After years of teaching, two veteran teachers at Kennedy, Ms. Yolanda Richardson and Ms. Janet Egidi, will retire at the end of this school year.

Thanks to Ms. Richardson’s well-crafted lessons, students leave with a heighten knowledge in social studies and world history provided by Ms. Richardson. Her many years of involvement with advocacy clubs such as the Black Student Union also gave students a voice and a sense of pride on campus.

Ms. Richardson steps outside her V-wing classroom for a few minutes to talk with the Clarion. Photo by Jianna Beasley

Yolanda Thomas Ricardson, 1970 Kennedy Graduate

Ms. Richardson began teaching social science in 2004, inspired by her mother to allow her students to have access to all the knowledge the world has to offer. She graduated from Kennedy in 1970, and after obtaining her Bachelor’s degree began her teaching career.  At SCUSD she taught at Genesis High School, which closed in 2010 and eventually returned to her own high school, Kennedy where she has been teaching ever since.  Upon returning to the campus as an instructor she says, “It was really weird because it was like life was coming full circle.”

Ms. Egidi’s work in the English department has spanned many years and in many directions. “When I moved from New York, I wanted to work at John F. Kennedy because of who he was as a person, because he was impressive. Inspiring. I was delighted to work at Kennedy,” she expressed. For forty years, she has dedicated her career to reaching all students, from teaching advanced placement, to guiding students in credit recovery on the other end of the spectrum. She worked closely with ELL (English Language Learners) students and was responsible for developing reading programs on campus.

Students that have been in their classes fondly shared that both Richardson and Egidi were understanding teachers that were helpful when they needed someone to talk to. In a couple of short interviews with the two teachers, we learned that some of the most memorable moments occurred during visits from students after they graduated. Ms. Egidi shared that a student, who spent a year in her class being rude and uncooperative, came back to apologize. She was surprised and appreciated the thoughtful gesture.

Ms. Richardson expressed satisfaction when a student returned to share her accomplishments in her life. This particular student, in the span of three years, got married, gave birth, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State. Ms. Richardson felt touched that the student had taken the time to return and share this amazing list of accomplishments with her.

Ms. Egidi poses for Clarion staff photographer in her T-wing classroom.

In their after-retirement plans, both plan to volunteer, while Ms. Egidi also plans to tackle her to-do list. She says she will finally have the time to go through and organize thirty years of mementos that have accumulated in her home. She would also like to resume her interest in yoga and volunteer at the B Street Theater, as well as indulge in her love for dogs and train them for pet therapy. Ms. Richardson plans to serve the community by training in in-disaster-preparedness so she can volunteer in disaster relief programs.

Students that have been fortunate to be a part of these teachers’ classrooms will not forget their dedicated contributions to our campus. They have taught beyond their subject matter, giving students life lessons they will take into their lives past high school. Ms. Egidi and Ms. Richardson will be missed, but for their time at Kennedy we say thank you, congratulations, and good luck with your new future.

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