FOLSOM, La. – Lunch time at Folsom Elementary is like any time for Miss Ollie; it’s a time to learn.
And she would know. Ollie is just shy of 85 years old and has been teaching children for more than 60 years.
"I had 35 4th-grade students with a chalk board and chalk and on basal reader and one basal math book and that was it,” she said. “None of the high tech materials we have now-a-days in the classroom."
This is one of Ollie Fitzmorris-McGillivary’s last days in the classroom as she's finally planning to retire from education. Ollie has taught across the world, in dozens of schools and passed on knowledge to thousands of students.
"‘A lot of teachers would stop in their 60s. Why are you still here at 85?' ” she said. “Because I love children and teaching and seeing them learn.”
Ollie teaches the basics of words, spelling and sentences and she is just as proud of her students' accomplishments today as she was when she started in 1951. Fellow teachers, and also parents of children taught by Ollie, say school will never be the same without her.
"A very huge loss,” Theresa Bruhl said. “She was definitely a positive impact on education. She was truly amazing. She did her job to the fullest every day. She put her heart and soul in everything she did."
Through it all, there's one thing that's kept Ollie in the classroom and it's likely her greatest lesson yet.
“You've had all the different nationalities and all the different races and everything and there's still one way to get a child to learn,” she said. “Let them know you really love them and care for them and that they can do it!"
Ollie said she will do volunteer work in the community and spend more time with family in her retirement.