Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Kate Randolph has spent 50 years working with the Morris Hill Baptist Church Preschool. That’s 600 months of nurturing children age 5 and under, or 18,262 days of teaching songs and preparing lessons. And after all that time, Randolph said she has loved every hour of it — all 438,300 of them.
“I don’t have any plans to retire,” she said. “I’ll be here as long as I’m healthy and can do it, because it’s so rewarding to teach the children.”
The 81-year-old has been a member of Morris Hill Baptist since she was 5 years old. The preschool originated as a kindergarten 50 years ago, and when it came to fruition she volunteered to teach music. Later, when the kindergarten needed more teachers because of its growth, Randolph was hired for the job. Eventually, when kindergarten became a part of local elementary schools, the organization morphed into a preschool to fit the needs of the community.
“The preschool has changed a lot because most of the mothers were not working then and now mothers are,” said Randolph. “[What hasn’t changed] is the children’s excitement about learning; they love to learn.”
Randolph is now the director of the preschool, and she continues to teach the students action songs and finger plays so they can develop their muscles and fine motor skills. Other than directing the preschool, she teaches an adult Sunday school class at the church, works with Girls in Action, a mission-oriented organization for young girls, and the Women’s Missionary Union to teach about missions.
“I just feel like I am doing something to help other people,” she said. “It just helps give fulfillment.”
Preschool teacher Alisa Nepp, who has taught at the preschool for seven years, said Randolph has taught her to be more tolerant of others and more easygoing in general.
“She has the patience of a saint,” Nepp laughed. “I’ve never seen her get anxious about anything. I’ve never heard her say a bad word about anyone, and that’s a really impressive thing to me.
“I think this is more than a preschool and I think Ms. Kate sees it that way too,” she added. “It’s a ministry.”
The preschool is open to the community and accepts children of any denomination or faith. It provides a kindergarten readiness program to help prepare the children for the day they begin elementary school.