Once an eagle, always an eagle: Mt. St. Mary’s Sherilyn Doerr retires after 35 years
Sherilyn Doerr estimates she’s taught well over 1,000 fifth-grade students over the past 35 years.
She recalls the names of many of them, some she needs to be prompted, and some she couldn’t forget if she wanted to. They are all people whose minds she helped expand throughout her career, and remind her of a distinguished tenure at Mount Saint Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley.
On Sunday, Doerr was celebrated by parents, staff and students — some current, many former — at a retirement party at Saint Patrick’s Hall. As far as the eye could see there were folks who wanted to say their goodbyes and thank Doerr for her years of service.
“I just love it here,” said Doerr. “This school is not a job, it’s a blessing. It’s been a great privilege to work with all these people. They have changed my life, in no uncertain terms. It’s a family here.”
Doerr taught fifth-grade throughout her career, which she said she loved because of the variety of subjects covered.
“It’s a wonderful age to teach,” she said. “Ten-year-old kids have enthusiasm that can change the world.”
Looking around at all of the well-wishers who filled Saint Patrick’s Hall, Doerr said it was almost overwhelming seeing familiar faces from the past. She enjoyed seeing so many alums and looking at 35 years worth of yearbooks, class photos, and student projects on display.
Doerr said being retired will take some getting used to.
“I thought I was handling all the emotions really well. Then I walked in here and saw all of them and the mementos on the wall. It was the yearbooks that really got me.”
Doerr’s two daughters attended Mount Saint Mary’s from kindergarten through eighth grade. They’re grown now, and Doerr is excited to be able to spend more time with them and her husband Alan.
Looking back on her career, Doerr recalled the memories that made it so memorable. She said a highlight was being able to celebrate Mount Saint Mary’s 150th year, and she cherishes the times when she was involved in the planning of many of the school’s liturgies.
Korin Fowler attended Mount Saint Mary’s as a child and years later, was grateful that her own children were under Doerr’s tutelage.
“I am kinda sad that my son won’t get her,” said Fowler, “but I’m so happy and excited that she is doing this for herself. She teaches them how to study and be prepared every day for school, and she has such a kind heart.”
“She’s an amazing woman. It will be hard to fill her shoes.”
Doerr said she never gets tired of hearing from former students.
“To see them be able to participate, to see them lead … it’s memorable when they come back and say, ‘thank you for teaching us grammar.’ They come back and say, ‘I knew so much in high school, I knew more than anybody and I got A’s because I learned grammar with you.’”
Doerr said that over the years Mount Saint Mary’s became like a second home to her, the staff and students a second family.
“I’m so grateful to all of these people who shared their children with us,” said Doerr. “They made a choice to make Mount Saint Mary’s their school, and they then become a member of the family. As our principal Mrs. Wood says, ‘Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.’”
Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4231.
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