Sharon Luecke Higgins has been a teacher in the Buckley-Loda and Paxton-Buckley-Loda school systems her entire career. Mrs. Higgins attended Buckley-Loda schools, graduating from high school in 1982.
“While participating in 4-H and high school, I found myself doing activities related to child development and planning activities for children,” Mrs. Higgins stated. “During this time I also provided child care to families in the community,” she continued. Through these activities with children, Mrs. Higgins decided to pursue a career in education.
Mrs. Higgins attended Eastern Illinois University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Services with a minor in psychology. She then returned to her hometown and began working for the Buckley-Loda School District in 1986. “I started teaching in homes of young children and did parent education with the parents,” Mrs. Higgins explained. “Parents were expected to complete educationally planned activities with their child. I also left parenting tips and assisted parents in understanding child development.”
Mrs. Higgins also worked with children and families in the Paxton, Ford-Central, Melvin-Sibley, Gibson City, and Cissna Park School districts. When Buckley-Loda and Paxton consolidated in 1990, Mrs. Higgins transitioned into the classroom setting.
Mrs. Higgins earned her teaching degree through coursework at Illinois State University and later received her Master’s Degree from Eastern Illinois University.
“Each year I enjoy seeing the excitement of children and their families on the first day of school, helping parents ease the transition of sending their child to school and comforting children as they say good-bye to their parent and reassuring them that mom and dad will be back,” remarked Mrs. Higgins.
Mrs. Higgins has enjoyed many memories with colleagues over the years as well. She has enjoyed the many different gatherings for celebrations. The “Pizza Pals” meeting at Monical’s and summer boat rides are two of her fondest memories.
When asked what she will miss the least, she replied, “Preparing lesson plans.” There are many more things that she will miss. “I will miss the relationships that are built with the families and receiving high fives and hugs from the kids,” she said. “I will also miss having parents say “thank you” for helping my child and/or our family,” she continued. “Seeing the light bulb go on when a child figures out a task and can do it independently, for example, writing their name, putting a puzzle together, zipping their own coat, working out a problem with a classmate and the list goes on,” she added.
Mrs. Higgins has spent her entire teaching career working with 3-5-year-olds. She reflected on how her career is ending much the same way it began due to COVID19. “I started my career by making home visits with families. Now visits are done in a different way, through phone calls, texts, and other social media, and using social distancing.”
Mrs. Higgins is married to Dennis and they have one daughter, Sarah. Mrs. Higgins also has two step-sons, Joe and Tim, and 7 grandchildren. She is looking forward to spending retirement with her family, gardening, and traveling.
The PBL School District would like to thank Mrs. Higgins for her 34 years of dedication, service, and loyalty to the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. Mrs. Higgin’s has worked tirelessly with our pre-kindergarten students and has helped give them a solid foundation to be successful in school. The district also recognizes the talent that Mrs. Higgin’s has in building relationships with her students, giving them a positive school experience. The district hopes that Mrs. Higgin’s enjoys her much deserved retirement.
Mrs. Higgin’s shared with us some of her favorite quotes:
“We overestimate children academically and underestimate them intellectually.” - Lillian Katz
“When children pretend, they’re using their imagination to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero.” - Fred Rogers
“Learning means change; growth is optional.” - Elizabeth Carlton