Sixth grade social studies teacher Doug Shequen said he will miss the students when he retires at the end of the school year. He was hired to teach at the Motley School in 1983, after receiving his teaching degree at Bemidji State University. Since that time, he has taught grades two - six at the Motley School and coached volleyball and baseball. Pictured above from left are, back row: Angela Wenzel, Ethan DiGiovanni, Abby Dukowitz, Hunter Martin, Addison Lorber, Malaya Reem. Middle row: Leah Bestland, SheqLongtime Motley Elementary School teachers Pat DiGiovanni (left) and Debbie Blowers are retiring at the end of the school year. GiGiovanni has taught in the Motley Staples area for 41 years; and the past 14 years as a second grade teacher at MES. Blowers taught for  a total of 24 years at MES, the majority of that time as a first grade teacher.

Reflections from retiring Motley teachers

Name and Title: Debbie Blowers, first grade teacher

How Many Years Have You Worked At The Motley School? I’ve worked at the Motley School for 24 years. My first year here I taught fifth grade, but for the rest of that time I have taught first graders.

What Inspired You To go Into Teaching? I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was growing up in Waseca, my three little sisters and I would play school...I was always the teacher.

Later on, I had a daycare and parents would tell me they thought I would be a good teacher. It was always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t go to college until I was 36 years old. My husband, Dick, was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) at that time and I thought it would be wise to get my degree. I went to Bemidji State and was 40 years old when I got my teacher’s license. During those years, I would drive up to Bemidji on Sunday night and come back home to Motley every Friday. Our daughter, Sarah, was still in high school at that time. The boys, Denny and Luke, had graduated.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Memories From Your Time At The Motley School? The year we were named a Blue Ribbon School was very exciting. Suzanne DeYonge (a third grade teacher) and I had the opportunity to fly out to Washington D.C., representing Motley Elementary. 

I also enjoyed helping with the Running Start Program every year. The kids are always so excited to read and that has always inspired me. Being able to teach five of my own grandkids was very special.

What Will You Miss The Most About Teaching? I will miss the kids...they are so much fun. I’ll also miss my friends like Pat (DiGiovanni). A lot of friendships have been formed over the years.

What Do You Plan To Do With Your Time After Retiring? I am going to do some subbing at Pillager Elementary. And, we live on a farm so there’s work to do there. Right now we have 21 baby lambs, 37 sheep; a number of ewes, chickens and a horse. My sister and I also have plans to go to Medora, N.D. We go every year.

Name and Title: Pat DiGiovanni, second grade teacher

How Many Years Have You Worked At The Motley School? Well, I have taught a total of 41 years, all in this area. My first four years I was at Sacred Heart Area School. The rest of the time has included subbing at both Staples and Motley elementary schools, teaching Special Ed. in Motley and Title I. For the past 14 years, I have taught second grade at MES.

What Inspired You To go Into Teaching? I grew up in Staples, attended Sacred Heart Area School and always wanted to be either a teacher or a missionary. I had some wonderful teachers, including Sister Charlotte and Mrs. St. Pierre at Sacred Heart; and Mr. Girtz in high chool. I went on to get my teaching degree at Moorhead State. 

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Memories From Your Time At The Motley School? Helping with the various programs, including the Christmas ones. We would also perform plays in our classroom, which were always fun. Our classroom wrote a song the year we were named a Blue Ribbon School. I also had the opportunity to teach some of my grandkids, which I loved.

What Will You Miss The Most About Teaching? I will miss Debbie (Blowers) of course and just being a part of this school. Of course I will miss the kids. They are so funny all the time and I always enjoy kidding around with them.

What Do You Plan To Do With Your Time After Retiring? My husband Roy and I plan to finally do some traveling. We never had time in the past because we always had the dairy cows. I plan to spend more time with the grandkids, too.

Name and Title: Doug Shequen, sixth grade teacher

How Many Years Have You Worked At The Motley School? I have taught here since 1983, after receiving my teaching degree from Bemidji State. When I first started here Bob Koll was the principal. I’ve taught everything from second to sixth grades.

What Inspired You To go Into Teaching? I’ve always loved working with young people...they are enjoyable. I had some great teachers and coaches growing up and I would say they inspired me to become a teacher myself.  

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Memories From Your Time At The Motley School? I’ve been able to coach in various capacities and I’ve enjoyed it all. I’ve mainly coached junior high kids; but I’ve also been the head volleyball coach for high school girls and the head baseball coach for high school boys. I’ve worked with some great kids; and I’ve been blessed to work with a great staff over the years, including  Charles Funk, who was Teacher of the Year; and Pat Held who was a real mentor to me. Dave Barnett was an inspiration, too. I also had the opportunity to have all three of my own kids in class...Krystal, Rebecca and Dylan.

What Will You Miss The Most About Teaching? The students.

What Do You Plan To Do With Your Time After Retiring? I plan to keep working on our farm...we have 40 beef cows, which requires we put up a lot of hay. My wife Jill and I also hope to do some more traveling. We recently took a trip to Hawaii to meet up with our daughter Rebecca who was being deployed. She’s in the navy. I hope to spend more time with my grandson, Duncan, too.

Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail: office@staplesworld.com

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