Puyallup: News

Puyallup teacher to retire after a decade of connecting students to community service

Ferrucci Junior High teacher Gina Greaves won this year’s Communities in Schools of Puyallup Educator of the Year Award. Greaves announced she is retiring at the end of the year, leaving a legacy of working with students and service clubs behind her.
Ferrucci Junior High teacher Gina Greaves won this year’s Communities in Schools of Puyallup Educator of the Year Award. Greaves announced she is retiring at the end of the year, leaving a legacy of working with students and service clubs behind her. jbessex@gateline.com

At the end of each school year, Ferrucci Junior High School teacher Gina Greaves and students from the school’s Community Service Club (CSC) put together a scrapbook that signals the end of a long year of hard work.

Full of pictures, flyers, articles and other mementos, the scrapbook tells the story of a group of students that want to make a difference in the community.

But this year’s CSC scrapbook is particularly bittersweet, because club advisor Greaves will be retiring this spring.

“I was waiting until I knew it was time,” Greaves said. “They’ll be ready to continue on next year. I’m going to miss those kids, though.”

Greaves worked as a Digitools teacher at Ferrucci Junior High for 23 years, educating students about Microsoft Office programs. Also notable is her work with students in CSC, where she’s been getting students involved in the community for over a decade.

“We’ve been a club for about 10 years,” Greaves said. “We work closely with Kiwanis of Daffodil Valley on service projects and projects around the community.”

From the beginning to the end of the year, Greaves and her students put together events around Puyallup to give back to others. This year, Greaves created list of events to give to new Ferrucci Junior High Principal Brian Fosnick as an introduction to the club. There’s an event listed for almost every month, aside from the summer.

“I was overwhelmed at the amount of time and effort and energy that she puts into something that’s not her full-time job,” Fosnick said. “She believes in community service and student leadership.”

From food drives to clothing drives, from hosting senior citizen balls to serving meals to families in need, the group of 80 students in CSC keep themselves busy all through the year.

“Some of the activities are a little difficult for junior high students,” Greaves said. “It puts them out of their comfort zones.”

Greaves sees her students learn to love helping others. She remembered one student in particular who enjoyed the caroling event the group puts on at the Linden Health Care Center in Puyallup.

“She said, ‘That was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever done,’” Greaves said. “The most gratifying part for me is to see them develop a love for service.”

Greaves is confident she’s leaving the club in good hands and is transferring her knowledge to two other teachers to take over when she retires. After, she plans to travel, mostly to her beach condo in Westport.

“I love the ocean,” said Greaves, whose classroom is decorated like a tropical beach. “I’m going to have more time to go. I plan on being on the beach the first day of school (next year).”

Greaves said the same thing in her thank-you speech after she was announced the recipient of the Educator Citizen of the Year Award at the Communities in Schools of Puyallup “Friendraiser” Breakfast and Auction on March 22.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” she said.

“She’s going to be missed, but she’ll be having fun on the beach on the first day of school, and I think it’s well-deserved,” said Fosnick.

But just because Greaves is retiring, doesn’t mean she won’t be involved with the community in the future. She plans to return to help out at Communities in Schools of Puyallup.

“I like to be busy,” she said. “I know I’ll find ways to keep myself busy.”

Allison Needles: 253-256-7043, @herald_allison

  Comments