The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Long-time Harlem Educator Retires

 

April 7, 2021

Harlem Elementary Principal, Shiloh Seymour assists Mr. Long to exhibit his star quilt, presented with gratitude from Harlem Public Schools.

At the end of March, Harlem Elementary School was the site of a special celebration where co-workers gathered to share refreshments, to present gifts of gratitude, and to wish Mr. Lowell Long a much-deserved retirement after 26 years of service to the school district.

Although Long actually completed his teaching career at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school term, COVID-19 restrictions prevented his retirement celebration from occurring at that time.

Long began his teaching career at Harlem Elementary in 1994 when he worked as a para-educator and substitute teacher. The following year, Long launched his 25-year calling as the Elementary Special Education Teacher, serving students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The only break Long took from teaching occurred when he was recalled to active military duty in 2009 to serve for a year in Iraq as a member of the Army National Guard. Previous to that military tour, Long served in the Marine Corps for four years, giving a total of 27 years to his country. When his tour in Iraq concluded, Long returned to his vocation as an educator.

Connected to military service, one of Long's greatest joys was teaching his students how to properly fold the American flag while explaining what each fold signified. His students often went on to demonstrate this informative procedure for community veterans.

Long was also instrumental in planning and carrying out Harlem Elementary School's annual Veterans' Day programs. He additionally contributes leadership as the North Central Zone Commander for the American Legion and functions on the Alternate National Executive Committeeman for the Sons of the American Legion, which is a national position. To add to Long's responsibilities, he will act as the Vice Commander for the Department of Montana after June of this year.

School Principal Shiloh Seymour reported that besides teaching his students, Long provided leadership on various committees and committed countless volunteer hours to the school's smooth operation. "Lowell also spent many years tutoring grateful students after school, ensuring their academic success. He was a permanent member on the Thoughtfulness Fund panel, the yearly Secret Santa events, and any get-together honoring a fellow staff member. He also kept the staff smiling by keeping the water/pop cooler fully stocked."

One of Long's colleagues described him as "Harlem Elementary's go-to guy, always ready to step in and step up whenever help was needed."

Another staff member recalled that Long was always the one on a ladder when it came time to string Christmas lights, paper chains, and other decorations from the ceilings in order to ready the hallways for Harlem Elementary's renown showcases.

"Mr. Long's expertise was greatly appreciated during Winter Wonderlands, Hawaiian Nights, Family Reading and Math Nights, and student Demonstration Presentation Evenings, where he helped set up stations, guide spectators, and serve refreshments to the students and their families. In fact, Mr. Long was involved in just about everything at Harlem Elementary. And, somehow, through it all, Lowell managed to perform all of his professional, military, community, and personal duties without a hitch or a single complaint."

Such a busy man might easily become bored with retirement, but Long has already stepped in as a much-needed substitute teacher for Harlem Elementary.

That combined with his military-connected duties suggests that Long will continue his life-long habit of giving his time freely to others.

Harlem Elementary personnel report that they will miss not having Long's expertise on a daily basis, but they wish "Happy Retirement to a very special teacher and friend."

For his 26 years of dedicated service, Long received a commemorative plaque and a star quilt from School District #12. He was also honored with a wooden flag, a gift from his Harlem Certified Union family.

 
 

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