McKinley teacher says farewell to class



October 24, 2011 - 12:00 AM

On Wednesday afternoon, Chris Rausch struggled to hold back tears as her second-grade students at McKinley Elementary School presented her with farewell gifts of handmade cards and a photograph of the class which each student has signed.
Rausch and her family are moving to Muskegon, Mich., the first week of November.
“We felt it was in God’s plan for us to leave Iola at this time and begin a new ministry. It was a family decision. Jim and I talked with our children and they were on board with the move, but the decision to leave Iola took many hours of thought and prayer,” she said.
Jim Rausch is minister at First Presbyterian Church. Their children are Jennica and Jacob. They moved to Iola 13 years ago from Illinois.
“Our congregation, co-workers and the townspeople have been so caring and giving to our family. My children feel like they have many sets of grandparents who they love and will miss,” Rausch said.
Breaking the news to friends and colleagues was difficult, Rausch said, but “the hardest ones to tell were my students. I enjoy teaching and have such a wonderful bunch of kids this year.”
Rausch began her teaching career as a substitute in Iola schools. She then taught special education, was a Title I teacher, taught fourth grade and for the past four years has been the second-grade teacher at LaHarpe and McKinley Elementary Schools.
“I plan to continue teaching. I’ll be starting anew again as a substitute while waiting for a position to open in the Muskegon schools,” she said.
“The community has been our family. I am going to miss all the church activities and working in Vacation Bible School next summer. This was Jim’s first church. It’s hard for him to say good-bye to his congregation. He will also miss the Iola Community Theatre, where he performed in its productions and the events at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center,” she said.
Daughter Jennica is already in Michigan staying with a family from the new church until the family arrives. As a senior she had to be enrolled in the Michigan school by Sept. 26 in order to graduate with her class in the spring.
Though she had her heart set on Kansas State University, Jennica is now looking into colleges in Michigan, her mother said. She plans to study interior design.
“We are all looking forward to the next phase of our lives. We will miss Iola but are excited about what the future holds for us in Michigan,” she said.

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