Melanie Miller retired after 30 years as a teacher at Highlands School and showed up for her last day of work on Dec. 16 riding in the back of a stretch limousine, following an escort by the Highlands Police Department, and passing about a hundred colleagues, students, family, and friends who lined the school’s entrance cheering in honor of Miller.
The limo was set up by longtime friends and fellow educators Andrea Chalker and Tracy Hedden who wanted Miller to have a memorable last ride to work.
“I was like ‘oh my gosh,’ and I just burst into happy tears,” said Miller after seeing the limo pull up to her house. “Then I walked out and hugged everyone who was there to take my last ride with me!”
Emotions escalated after arriving at Highlands School to see people lining both sides of the street with signs expressing their love and appreciation for Miller’s three decades as an educator.
“My heart overflowed and so did the tears,” said Miller. “Then I was able to embrace it and enjoy the ride.”
Miller said she plans to help her husband with his plumbing business in retirement and return to Highlands School in the fall as a substitute teacher working part time.
She added that she’ll miss her work family and her students the most. To see them standing along the road on her final day cheering and holding signs hit her hard.
“I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone that had any part of my best-last day,” said Miller. “What a send off! I would also like to thank everyone for your unwavering love and support throughout my teaching career. I love you, and I couldn’t have done it without you! Also, to my students, I love you, and thank you for making me who I am today!”
Miller taught Title I Reading and AIG (Academic and Intellectual Gifted) classes. Highlands School Teacher Angela Swain was a student of Miller’s in second grade and said Miller was one of the reasons she became a teacher.
“Melanie was truly the glue at Highlands School,” said Swain. “She was my second-grade teacher and a very influential person in my decision to teach. I will miss her very much and I want to congratulate her on her 30-wonderful years at Highlands School!”
In addition to substitute teaching part time, Miller said she’ll continue to be at sports games supporting all Highlands teams.