JACKSONVILLE, FLA-- The year was 1974. Gas was $.55 a gallon. Richard Nixon was President. And Mrs. Sharon Rougier first stepped foot in a classroom.
That first day was much different than it is now. She was teaching high school in Tampa.
"I had two classes of 75 students," said Mrs. Rougier.
Her heart called her home to Jacksonville where she took an elementary school position and found her true love was teaching kindergarten and first grade.
"Because you see it in their face, the moment they get it," she explained with a smile.
She has been teaching elementary school for 39 years, touching thousands of little lives in the process. Most recently she has been teaching at Venetia Elementary, always remembering that being a teacher is more than a job. It is a calling.
"Sometimes you you are the highlight of the baby's day, so it doesn't get much better than that," she said.
Mrs. Rougier has made friends along the way with fellow teachers and though her students have grown, they don't forget her. She has been to countless graduations and dozens of weddings. A living example for the younger teachers and she has some advice.
"When you are dealing with a child, if you picture that child as your very own, how would like for somebody to be speaking to your child? That has stuck in my head, when I am praising and when I am disciplining," she told.
But after 40 years of devoting her life to children, Mrs. Rougier is ready to spend time traveling with her husband and visiting her daughter. Though she will never forget these faces and they will never forget her.
"You know this is who I am," she said smiling," So it will be different in August."