CALUMET, Okla. (KFOR) – “Maple School, this is Jill” is what you will hear if you call Maple School in Calumet. On the other end of the line, receptionist Jill Hadin wears many hats – literally.
“Mrs. Jill,” as the students call her, puts smiles on hundreds of young faces, dressed as her own original characters.
“I think I have 15 wigs at home,” Jill said. “I’ve got Linda the Limbo Queen, Paula Bean the Jumping Jack Queen, Tammy the Tug of War Queen, Granny, Darrel the Dog Catcher – that’s a big favorite.”
Mrs. Jill also teaches Pre-K P.E. dressed as one of her characters. “Oh, I’m gonna get this one right here!” she said, while chasing laughing students around the gym, dressed as Tammy the Tug of War Queen.
“She has wigs that she can wear so we don’t know who she is,” Pre-K student Gatlin said of his teacher.
Mrs. Jill also creates daily treasure hunts, coloring sheets, and crafts for the kids who stay after school. And she leaves encouraging notes inside students’ lockers.
“I kept all of them,” said seventh grader Everleigh Sears. “This one says, ‘Always be creative,’ and then, ‘Good things take time,’ and ‘Don’t worry, be happy,'” she said as she read the notes aloud.
Everleigh has known Mrs. Jill since Pre-K, when she accidentally left her favorite stuffed animal “Dog Dog” at school.
“Mrs. Jill took him home, crocheted a blanket to keep him warm and cozy, took pictures throughout the night. She had dinner with him, read books, and watched movies, and did silly things,” said Tamara Sears, Everleigh’s mom.
Tamara is a teacher’s aide at Maple School, where she says the staff has been blessed by Mrs. Jill’s generosity. “She’s bought a gift for every staff member for their birthday,” Tamara said.
Everleigh and Tamara nominated Mrs. Jill for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank.
“Are you kidding?!” Mrs. Jill said.
Tamara replied, “Because all of the joy and love that you spread every single day, on behalf of First Fidelity Bank and all of Maple School, here’s $400 to say ‘thank you.'”
“Oh, my goodness – thank you!” Mrs. Jill said, hugging Tamara and Everleigh.
“I wasn’t the best student at school, I was kind of class clown, you know, I guess that’s just carried through to my adulthood. If I can have fun, I’m gonna have fun,” Mrs. Jill said.
Even after all these years, Mrs. Jill remembers Everleigh’s “Dog Dog” well. “I made him a little sleeping bag,” she said.
Now, other kids send their favorite toys for sleepovers to keep Mrs. Jill company. “I don’t have any kids of my own, so they’ll give me their little babies to babysit.”
“Everybody loves her so much,” Everleigh said. “Thank you so much,” Jill said as she gave Everleigh another hug.
If you know someone deserving of a Pay It 4ward award, you can nominate them here.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.