Sharp’s goodbye marked with tears, hugs, and Halloween

Katie Maxwell

Katie Maxwell, Editor-in-Chief

The Main Office was a strange sight to behold on Monday, December 17th. Christmas trees were covered in cobwebs, ghouls sat in chairs, and a certain principal was dressed like Cruella DevilIe. The holiday party had been hijacked in order to celebrate Betty Sharp’s retirement. Sharp, whose favorite holiday is Halloween, retired on Thursday, December 20th. Throughout the day, students and teachers stopped by to wish her well and watch her open gifts.

Sharp is one of the school’s most beloved and recognized faces, and she has been the Assistant to the Principal and Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction for the past 16 years. She has been working in the district for nearly twenty years, though.

In an exclusive interview with Clarion, she described what it was like to live and work in this community for so long.

The Sharp family moved into Riverside in 1983 when their kids were still young. Ten years later, Sharp found herself working part-time as the district’s office clerk along side the superintendent. A few years later, she permanently replaced the then Assistant to the Principal when the assistant went on maternity leave.

Through the years, Sharp has witnessed many of RB’s ups and downs. From the school’s lowest enrollment level ever in 1990 to student-inspired programs like Student/Teacher: Exchange Day, Sharp said, “It was worth it.”

She loved working with the “variety of people” that came into the office looking for help, especially the students because they “keep you young,” she said.

Although Sharp loves her job, she has put a lot of thought into her decision and she feels that this is the right time for her to retire.

She said, “It’s important to me for everyone to know that it’s my choice. It’s time.” She also said, “Any time you make a major change, you try to second guess yourself, but I just have to trust my instincts.”

“I originally thought about leaving at the end of last school year, but finding out that Mrs. Presta was also leaving-it would have been total insanity for us to leave at the same time-so I decided to wait until December,” she continued.

Sharp plans to have a busy retirement.

“There’s no relaxing,” she said.

She and her husband are planning to sell their house in Riverside. They are “looking to tear out some walls. We love doing that,” she said.

Sharp is also looking forward to spending more time with her five year old grandson and possibly doing some volunteer work.

Maura Kennedy will be replacing Sharp. She began training on Friday, December 7th, and will fully take over on Thursday, December 20th.

Sharp has high hopes for Kennedy. “She’s going to get along brilliantly,” Sharp said. “We’re lucky; we attract fabulous people like Ms. Mollo who replaced Mrs. Presta,” she continued.

Sharp finished by saying, “I truly have enjoyed working in this office. There’s something new every day and great energy; it’s invigorating. How could you not enjoy working with people like Mr. Passarella? Mrs. Bylsma and Mr. Passarella are true bulldogs.”

On the other hand, Bylsma feels that Sharp is the true bulldog.

She said, “Mrs. Sharp epitomizes putting your heart and soul into your job. So, how do you replace a person like that?”