By Nancy Rineman
Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 26, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Nancy Rineman photo]
HAMPTON — Merry Craig is retiring after 25 years as an educator, but from the sounds of her plans for the future, her days may be just as busy once she's away from school.
Craig was a substitute teacher in the Hampton schools for five years before she assumed her full-time position. In her 25-year career as a music teacher, she worked in three schools within SAU 21, including kindergarten at Centre School, Grade 4 at Marston, and Grades 1 to 8 at Barnard School in South Hampton. Given the number of years she has dedicated to introducing her young students to all that music has to offer, she is quick to share her feelings for the work she has done.
"I will miss the children a great deal," Craig said, taking a few moments to reminisce during the last week of school.
"I especially like the young children," she added. "They're so creative and spontaneous; they are willing to try everything."
"It's a joyful job," she said of her kindergarten, first- and second-graders at Centre School.
Craig will be continuing with her passion for teaching children in a very different vein now that she is retiring.
"We have a new golden retriever," she said. "I'm hoping to train her to read with children in Maine libraries."
Craig said the 2½-year-old Cookie was a show dog just one step from claiming championship in Canada. A slight hip irregularity showed up that took the dog out of contention, and into the lives of Craig and her husband, who live on the water in Kittery Point, Maine.
"The dog lies on the floor in the middle of the circle," Craig said, explaining the concept. "My job is to train this dog to watch the pages turn."
"It's a very non-threatening environment," she said. "It's a way to encourage children to read."
In keeping with her professional training in music, Craig said she will continue with her participation in the Seacoast Community Chorus in York, Maine.
Craig is also an active marine docent, and may go back to taking part in that program at the University of New Hampshire, she said. She also likes to row and, being a water lover, it's not too surprising that a trip next March will be taking her to see the whales in Baja.