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Losing a sacred school pal of 25 years

5/21/2014

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.news

PLAINVILLE -- The Class of 2014 called it the end of an era.

The last class of retiring principal Carol Parker was just that, but a new era will begin this fall when Laura Foss takes over for Parker at Sacred Heart Grade School in Plainville.

This year's three sixth-graders at Sacred Heart -- who will move on to junior high next school year -- all were the last children in a long line of Sacred Heart alumni for their families.

Jared Casey, youngest son of Jerry and Karen Casey, had six brothers and sisters graduate from Sacred Heart.

Melinda Ruder is the last of seven siblings, all children of John and Karla Ruder, to attend school there.

And Heidi Jones is the youngest of 10 grandchildren in the Plainville area for Charlene Jones, who works at the school.

Jones, in her 15th year as secretary at Sacred Heart, said it might not be as hard not to see some of her grandchildren at school every day as not getting to work with Parker.

"She's the best boss ever," Jones said of Parker. "She's my best friend."

However, Jones expects a smooth transition, for herself as well as the students and teachers, with Foss -- who has taught at Sacred Heart since 1995, including the last 18 years in the first-grade classroom -- at the helm.

"When I first started, I was a volunteer in Mrs. Foss' class," Jones said. "So that should make it easier for me."

Foss, who will begin her 20th year at Sacred Heart in the fall, attended Sacred Heart in the 1970s and was part of a large family whose children are all alumni of the school.

"I'm sad to have Carol go because she was my fifth-grade teacher," Foss said, "and she hired me when I came back" to teach there.

However, Foss said she is looking forward to the new challenge, and Parker has faith in her former student.

"She's definitely up to the task," Parker said, who is in her 25th year as Sacred Heart's principal after teaching off and on there since 1976.

"Twenty-five as a principal; that's a quarter of a century," she said. "It's time to have someone else take the lead."

And there still will be plenty of consistency at Sacred Heart. All the teachers are returning with the exception of Foss.

And filling that spot as the new first-grade teacher will be Deidre Jones, a Sacred Heart alumni and one of Charlene Jones' granddaughters.