The J. Taylor Finley Middle School community will pay tribute to its longest serving employee when it honors Ermine Brockschmidt during a memorial tree planting ceremony on Monday, September 30 at 3:45 p.m.
Mrs. Brockschmidt passed away Saturday, July 27 after a short illness. Her colleagues were expecting her to return to work this month for her 46th year as a teacher aide at the school. She said many times that she had no intention of retiring because she loved her job.
Finley Principal John Amato will preside over the tribute, which will include Superintendent James W. Polansky, teachers, teacher aides, students, parents and other members of the school community.
The seven-foot crepe myrtle tree is being donated by the Finley PTA and the school’s student council. A metal plaque will be affixed near the tree reading: “In loving memory of Ermine Brockschmidt.” The tree is expected to grow big and strong and thrive for decades in the grassy median in front of the building.
Mr. Amato will kick-off the ceremony with some of his personal remembrances of the longtime teacher aide before asking her friends and family members to share their thoughts of the very special woman.
Mrs. Brockschmidt came to Finley in 1968 and stayed longer than any other employee in school history. Faculty and support staff members and students came and went, but she endured. She loved reading during free periods and going for a daily walk in an adjoining neighborhood. She also had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.
Mr. Amato said Mrs. Brockschmidt was a “humble, compassionate person” that never had a bad word to say about anyone. In recent years she manned the receptionist’s desk at the school, greeting visitors and signing them into the building, processing late arriving students, assisting the front office staff with mailings to parents, helping with locker issues and lending a hand whenever it was needed.
A window since 1976, Mrs. Brockschmidt was typically on the job from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day and hardly ever took a day-off. She quickly and firmly rebuffed any suggestion by family members that she retire.
The community is invited to attend the tree-planting ceremony.