AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - I visited Arden Road Elementary this week long before daybreak; way before the first school bus arrives at the parking lot or long before the first student takes his/her seat or even before the custodial staff arrives here, there is already a presence because of a special teacher ready to start the day.
The first car in the school parking lot arrives at 5:45 a.m. and belongs to long time teacher, Maelynn Webb. Maelynn brings the building to life every morning, lighting classrooms and hallways, starting coffee in the lounge and preparing the building for the arrival of staff and students.
“What stirs you or motivates you to be the one to come and just open this place up and get the day going?” I asked.
“I’ve always been a morning person. I love what I do. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been doing it 42 and a half years,” said Maelynn.
Maelynn also regularly bakes and distributes her fabled banana bread and sweetens the day for her fellow teachers and coworkers.
“Maelynn Webb, or Mamma Mae as she’s been endeared with, has been here on staff since 1987. Everybody loves Mrs. Webb and they want to come whether they were here a year ago or 20 years ago. Former students want to come by and see her and tell her how much they appreciate her and love her,” said Arden Road Elementary Principal John Forbis.
It's in the classroom that this teacher's love for students really manifests and the lives of her schoolchildren are forever enriched.
“I want to treat them like how I want my children to be treated. And it’s my job that they know they are loved and that they are wanted. And it’s my job to teach them as much as they can to prepare them for the rest of their life," said Maelynn. "I love them as they come in the door, I write them notes all the time, anything I can do to help build up their self-esteem and know that they are cared for and that they are loved.”
Students simply never forget the compassionate influence of Mrs. Webb.
“Whenever I was in 4th grade, I got the chicken pox and Mrs. Webb actually worked really hard to make sure that I didn’t miss out on anything," said former student Kaitlin Johnson. "I was always so excited to go to class and to learn. Mrs. Webb taught writing and she actually is the reason that I learned to love to write and the reason that I wanted to get into journalism.”
“She treats everybody like family whether it’s a student, a staff member, an administrator- we’re all family to Ms. Webb,” said Principal Forbis.
“After 42 years now, I hear some rumors that it might be retirement, is that right?” I asked.
“Not yet. I’m still loving what I do and as long as I can make a difference in children’s lives, I want to hang around a little bit longer,” declared Maelynn.
Now it’s just fun to talk about people like Maelynn Webb and the positive impact they have on almost everybody they cross paths with. That’s good news.