Belvidere High School teacher earns honor in her final year - – Rockford’s News Leader

Belvidere High School teacher earns honor in her final year


A Belvidere High School teacher uses her passion for the job, to enjoy her last year before she retires.

Janet McCarthy has been in front of students for the past 37 years. In her retirement, she'll stay in the classroom, but not as a teacher.

"There's no difference between that passion when I was here as a student and that passion here today," says Belvidere High School Principal Todd Martens. "She really truly cares about learning."

1975 was her first year of teaching. Someone who dreamed of being a teacher in the second grade, Janet McCarthy is determined to finish out her career this year, the way she started. As an English and Public Speaking teacher, with a bit of theatre in her background, McCarthy uses her now vibrant personality and creativity that she's developed over the years.

"For the quiet shy girl in high school that I was, who would have never taken a speech class, it's especially gratifying to work with all the students in that respect because I know what it's like to not want to do it," says Janet McCarthy.

But McCarthy's classroom doesn't have a shy emotion in it. The walls are filled with quotes from literature, encouraging students to think outside the box, in their speeches.

"Now that I'm coming to the end of it, I guess I would have to quote a poet who said, 'I am a part of all that I have met,'" says McCarthy. "And so it's the combined combination of all those students, wherever they are, whatever they're doing. It's quite a wonderful way to make your living."

McCarthy says she and her husband plan to move to Chicago, where she plans to do the learning. She hopes to take violin lessons, study the Irish language, and teach others to love reading, as much as she does.

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