Richardson retires after 13 years at AHS

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Olivia Lafferty

Mary Richardson lectures during one of her last IB Topics classes of the year.

Many teachers like to go from school to school and see the differences between each other; but not Mary Ann Richardson. Throughout her 15 year teaching career, she has spent all but two of those years at AHS.

“I’m a very loyal person; when I came here 13 years ago I had kinda already decided that this would be my home,” IB Topics teacher Mary Richardson said.

Before Richardson worked in education she worked in government. She held a government job for 26 years where she worked in Congress, as well as under the Clinton administration. Her mother, a nursing teacher, was the one who convinced her to teach after she left her government job.

“I was looking for a new challenge, I knew humanities well and I wanted to teach the new generation of students; I saw it as a community service,” Richardson said.

Throughout her 13 years here, she has taught IB Topics and USVA Government for seniors.

“It’s a lot different teaching seniors as opposed to freshmen. When you say good-bye to them at the end of the year, you never know if you will ever see them again-—it really is good-bye for good,” Richardson said.

Reflecting on her years at AHS, Richardson has realized that learning truly is a lifelong process, as well as a slow processes.

“The kids who get the best grades aren’t necessarily the people who will be changing the world later on in life,” Richardson said.

She will also miss her students above everything else next year.

“I’ve had kids who’ve changed me as a person, and hopefully I’ve helped change some of their lives as well,” Richardson said.

And her students agree, many of their lives have been impacted by her teachings.

“I learned that history is not just about memorizing facts and dates. It’s about reflecting on what happened in order to learn patterns that are occurring in the present,” said senior Harris Fitzgerald.

Richardson has many plans for her retirement.

“I have a month and a half long trip to Europe planned for this fall, and I plan on spending a lot more time with my family as well. My life goal is to read all the great books before I die, and so far I have a list longer than my arm. I’m looking forward to be able to read books and not have to grade papers,” Richardson said, “The question is not what I will do when I’m retired, but how will I find enough hours in the day to do everything.”