“There’s Ms. Metoyer! She’s back!” they said, running to greet the former principal.
Charlene Metoyer was the school’s principal for five years before announcing this August she would retire to take care of her sick father. A new principal is expected to be named as soon as next week.
Metoyer said when she decided to retire, she didn’t think she would be able to handle the emotions of visiting campus and talking to the students. But when acting principal Mary Manos, who also is a personal friend, invited her to visit today to read to kindergartners and attend flag deck, Metoyer said she couldn’t refuse.
“You can’t buy this,” she said as she tried to make her way to the playground where flag deck is held but was stopped every few feet by more students and parents and their hugs.
The students cheered to welcome her as the flag deck ceremony began.
“You missed me,” Metoyer said as a group of fourth-grade students presented her with a poster that said “We Love You, Mrs. Metoyer!”
At times, Metoyer was on the verge of tears, and seeing the children’s reaction to her visit moved many parents as well.
“Just to listen to the kids…” said parent Meghan Boyle, who was wiping away tears. “I’m laughing at myself…”
Parent Kristin Rosten said she was delighted to be able to say goodbye to Metoyer.
“She was great,” Rosten said. “She really whipped the school into shape.
Manos and others presented her with flowers, and Metoyer also received a stuffed animal in a viking costume to represent the Harbor View viking mascot. Many students also made cards, which they planned to give her as Metoyer visited the classrooms.
Metoyer told the children that seeing their faces made going to work a joy, and that retiring was bittersweet.
Then she told them that as they walked to class, she wanted them to do something — and the student body chanted, “Learn a lot and ask really good questions,” which had been Metoyer’s daily advice during her tenure at the school.
“Because of that,” Metoyer said later, “I knew it was in their hearts. This has been the most invigorating, validating moment.”