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Saying Goodbye at Halley Elementary

School says goodbye to a ‘true humanitarian.’

Phoebe Boatright, a school counselor at Halley Elementary School in Lorton, retired this year after 46 years in education.

Phoebe Boatright, a school counselor at Halley Elementary School in Lorton, retired this year after 46 years in education. Photo Contributed.

Since Halley Elementary School opened in the 1990s, Phoebe Boatright has been at the school inspiring students and helping the Lorton community.

This June, Boatright retired after 46 years in education. Students, staff and parents at Halley say they will miss Boatright, who worked as a counselor at the school.

“She is truly a selfless person and has done just about anything for the students she serves. Phoebe Boatright is the heart of Halley and will be missed immensely,” said Karen Tuttle, the assistant principal at Halley Elementary.

Many previous students describe her as the teacher who truly made a difference in their lives.

“Mrs. Boatright was my teacher in the fourth and fifth grade when we were stationed at Ft. Belvoir. I have not had a more caring and kind teacher that matched this woman, nor have I met one that comes close. For a teacher to make that kind of impression on a young student speaks volumes on her character and love for teaching. Having been in the education field now for 17 years, eight years as a teacher and the past nine years as a counselor, it is exciting to hear students talk about teachers who not only love teaching, but take the time to get to know their students,” said Lien Buddenhagen Weakland.

Boatright commuted every day across the Wilson Bridge, sometimes spending up to two hours during her commute. According to Tuttle, this is because of her devotion to the students at Halley Elementary.

“Ms. Boatright is a true humanitarian, placing the needs of all students, teachers and families before her own. She takes the time to understand people and gladly delivers resources where they are needed. Each one of us, children and adults alike, feels authentically supported and valued around her and can articulate moments that involve Ms. Boatright impacting them on such a personal level. She creates opportunity and purpose with every hurdle and gives her time and energy to anyone in need, all while raising the standard for care and selflessness in the Halley community,” said a statement from the administration at Halley Elementary School.

Boatright said the students were the highlight of her experience at Halley Elementary, and that she’ll miss the children, staff and community.

Working at a school as diverse as Halley sometimes brought challenges, but Boatright worked to ensure students were successful.

“It’s a community with a lot of different needs,” Boatright said. “I worked to help the kids realize they can be all they want to be.”