Benton retired teachers set up fundraiser to honor friend

By Emily Van Zandt Published September 27, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Curt Youngblood

A group of about 20 retired Caldwell Elementary School teachers has launched a fundraiser in honor of Alice Glover, a retired Benton teacher who died in May. Seated, from the left, are Peggy Chennault, Patti Snowden, Carolyn Hoggard, Janis Barker and Gara Land; and standing, from the left, are Jana Brumbelow and JoAnne Zachary. The women are part of the group that is striving to raise at least $5,000 to donate to Heifer International.

— For a group of retired Caldwell Elementary School teachers, old colleagues isn’t a strong-enough label — the group is a sisterhood.

So when one of their own, second-grade teacher Alice Glover, died in May at age 55, the group rallied — first at the school Glover had worked in for more than 25 years to comfort and support each other, then through a summer of grieving. Now, the group of around 20 former teachers are coming together to launch a fundraising campaign in Glover’s honor.

Through the Heifer Project International Memorial Honoring Alice Glover, the group is working to raise enough funds from students, parents, teachers and the Benton community to donate a Heifer Gift Ark — 15 pairs of animals, including cows, sheep, camels, oxen and water buffalo — through Heifer International, an organization with a goal to help end hunger and poverty by providing livestock and training to families in need around the world. The Heifer Gift Ark requires a $5,000 donation.

“Alice had an amazing love of teaching,” said Janis Barker, former Caldwell second-grade teacher and longtime friend of Glover’s. “All she ever wanted to do was teach.”

For Glover, the day went beyond the final bell. Students would often recall her as a favorite teacher years later, the way she played classical music through the day and read to the class as much as she could. And there was the look — peering down over her glasses in a way that made even the most stubborn student sheepish.

“My boys still remember that look. … I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it myself,” said Kara Conrad, a resource teacher at Caldwell.

Above all, Glover’s fellow teachers admired the way she would never let her students see when she was stressed or tired. She had the ability to empathize with her classes.

“She took into consideration what may have gone on at home the night before,” said former Caldwell student Brandi Pate, who considered Glover a second mother. “Students knew that she would truly listen to them and remember their problems. You can say the name Mrs. Glover to old students, and they know exactly who you mean.”

Heifer International was an organization close to the Glover family’s heart. When a group of her fellow teachers retired together three years ago, Glover bought a goat through Heifer International as a retirement gift.

“Her students will remember that Mrs. Glover liked [Heifer International],” Pate said. “They’ll remember that she loved to read them books about the project. It’s not something that’s just for the teachers and parents.”

A letter sent home with Caldwell students Tuesday explains the purpose of the memorial and asks that parents’ donations be sent to school with students on Thursdays through Oct. 18. An assembly Tuesday at Caldwell included presentations by Heifer representatives to help teach the children about the organization and how the donated animals help provide food and income for families in other countries. Another assembly will be held at the school in mid-November to present the final donation to Heifer International.

Donations to the Heifer International fund are also being accepted from the Benton community. Those who wish to make a contribution can send a check for the Alice Glover Heifer International Memorial Fund to Summit Bank, Attention: Sarah Simpson, 1800 Military Road, Benton, AR 72015. Community donations will be accepted through Oct. 31.

Other efforts have been started by friends and family members to honor Glover’s life, including a memorial bench and plaque in a new garden at Caldwell, and an additional memorial fund to create a college scholarship for former Caldwell Elementary School students.

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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