HOUSTON, Texas — A monumental education career is still going strong at the landmark Navarro Middle School on Houston’s East End.
“I started with the district in January of 1968,” said teacher Sharon Lemond.
Sharon, 77, is in her 54th year teaching.
"Seems like it just started yesterday,” she said with a chuckle.
Sharon has taught various subjects at virtually every grade level over the past five decades. More than 20 of those years were spent at Whittier Elementary School.
“I like teaching reading and math and seeing them light up because of it," Sharon said. "To me, that’s very, very important.”
Sharon’s first teaching job was at Field Elementary in The Heights during integration. She admitted it wasn’t always pleasant being a part of what was known as the “crossover” program.
“I was one of the teachers in the crossover program to go to an all-Caucasian school,” Sharon said.
It was the same year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“I would walk down the hallways and sometimes people wouldn’t even speak," Sharon said. "I would say, 'Good morning,' and nobody would say anything.”
She said things improved over time thanks in part to collaborative relationships with colleagues, students and their families.
"Some of the students I taught in elementary school, I taught their children, and, believe it or not, I’ve taught some of their grandchildren,” Sharon said.
She had six children of her own and earned a law degree along the way.
But the classroom is where Sharon believes she truly belongs.
"You have to be flexible and you have to be very caring,” she said.
Sharon currently teaches skills for living and learning, or SLL, to special needs students.
Sharon was among some 900 long-term employees recognized on Wednesday during a reception for those with 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 or more years of service.