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Schools saying goodbye to three teachers

Bill Darnall, Pam MacKay and Margaret Arnold are retiring this year and plan to enjoy other activities.

June 07, 2012|By Joanna Clay

Three teachers are locking up their classroom doors for the last time.

When combining Bill Darnall, Pam MacKay and Margaret Arnold's time with the Laguna Beach Unified School District, it would add up to nearly a century — 95 years, to be exact.

Darnall, a ceramics teacher at Laguna Beach High School, has been with the school for 30 years.

The 60-year-old said it was a "dream come true" to teach his favorite medium to children over the years.

An exhibitor at the Sawdust Art Festival for 31 years, Darnall is no stranger to the community.

"Arts have always been an important part of our community," he said. "I have ex-students that now have kids in my class. They say, 'Oh, I still have those pots I made in your class in '82."

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Darnall said it's neat to think that the items the children make could stay a part of their families for years to come, different than work they might create in other classes.

"I just want to leave when I'm on a high," he said. "I used to surf a lot — it's like being on the best part of the wave and before it comes crashing on you, you go out and look for another."

MacKay, 60, activities director and a photography and video teacher, has been with the district for 25 years.

Although she said she'll miss the kids, she's ready to start a new chapter in her life.

"I have a lot of things I'd like to try," she said.

Already on her list of things she's planning to do: jewelry-making classes, crocheting, horseback riding and cooking classes.

Jun Shen is taking over her video class, which hosts the Thursday and Friday broadcast of the high school's news.

Top of the World Elementary School first-grade teacher Margaret Arnold will leave the school after 40 years. Arnold, 61, interned fresh out of college at the school and was offered a job shortly thereafter. She said she knew it was the school for her, and she never left.

"I want to retire while I'm still feeling young and have a lot of energy so I can do all the things I'd like to do," she said. "Also, there's a ton of wonderful new teachers that want a job. I want to let them try it."

All retirees in the district, including the three teachers, are being recognized at a fete June 6.

"Bill Darnall, Pam MacKay and Margaret Arnold have served our students well for decades," Supt. Sherine Smith said in a statement to the Coastline Pilot. "They have contributed immeasurably to the lives of individual students. We wish them a fond farewell and happiness in retirement."

joanna.clay@latimes.com

Twitter: @joannaclay

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