Great State: Woodward’s 3rd Grade Legend Retires

WOODWARD, OKLAHOMA — One of the first orders of every 3rd grade day in Cheryl Lucas’ class is what she calles the ‘dares’.

“It’s a daily review of match,” explains Lucas.

Her students review their math assignments by proving their answers to the rest of the class.

Arithmetic has always been Cheryl’s favorite subject to teach.

She explains, “They get excited about math. I think the see their improvement better there than in reading.”

It’s been 50 years since Lucas first walked into a classroom at the Horace Mann school in Woodward.

She started her teaching career in the second semester, during a snowstorm.

“I can still see some of those faces that greeted me that day,” she says.

Cheryl’s mother was a teacher who brought her daily classroom memories home.

She says, “I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be a teacher.”

They go over math assignments every day.

3rd graders are just starting to learn multiplication and division.

They have mandated reading benchmarks to live up to, a little science with the water absorbing pet turtle, and an unexpected guest from Oklahoma City.

“They saw you drive up,” chuckles Lucas, “and one of my students said, ‘oh, the man from New York is here.’ I said, ‘no. he’s not from New York.”

After a half-century in 3rd grade, and all the recognition she could ever hope for, Cheryl decided quickly on making this her last year.

She still plans to substitute and volunteer, and she never plans to forget.

“You know I’m going to miss it,” she scolds. “I spent the best years of my life I am going to miss it.”

If someone dared you to spend most of your adult life in a primary school classroom in one town how many of you would take it?

But on the flip side, how many hundreds would line up at the end to say thanks if you did?