Mary Pierpont, a special education teacher at Thoreau Intermediate, has retired after 13 years of teaching in Fairfax County. With her retirement, she takes the Work Awareness in Transition (WAT), a vocational program for developmentally and emotionally disabled students. Since retiring, she has gone on a month-long trip to Japan, teaching conversational English.
<sh>* Family Members
<bt>Son Chip, grandchildren Parker and Griffin. Daughter Cheryl, grandchildren Jacob and Emily.
<sh> * Place of Residence
<sh>* What was your favorite part of being a teacher?
<bt>"The kids, being involved with children. Every student is special, they all have needs. Teaching a GT class, it's a whole different attitude. It's, 'What's in it for me?,' 'Why is this grade important?' My kids just do their best."
<sh>* What are some success stories from the Work Awareness in Transition program?
<bt>"There's one fellow, he's 23 now, and he was a student of mine the first year I did Work Awareness in Transition. He was an MR [mildly retarded] student, but he's living in Chicago now with a driver's license and his own apartment. He's working independently. We talk every month. He's a great example of what you can do with yourself."
<sh>* Do you hope to see Work Awareness in Transition re-instated at Thoreau?
<bt>"They're going to miss it terribly. As Fairfax County leans more toward inclusion, I don't think it is a very good idea. There are some special students who need their own pathways. A lot of parents just want to put the kids in, say, French II. But they will be so lost. When they see their own potential, though, and reach it, it is wonderful to watch."
<sh>* What are your hobbies?
<bt>"I love to travel. I love crafts. I love to sing. I'm a member of this barbershop group, and my church choir. In the barbershop group we pick up these Broadway songs and go to retirement communities. They get this glint in their eyes, and start singing along."
<sh>* If you could meet one person, who would it be?
<bt>"I wish I could have spent more time with my mom. She was a single mother, and she passed away in 1966. I would love to sit at Jesus' knee. Or, at completely the other end, it would be nice to say, 'Hi,' to Tom Cruise."