By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal
The Louisville Municipal School District said farewell the other day to one of their most loved and dedicated teachers on their staff, Mrs. Annie Pearl Matthews.
Peers and friends of Matthews honored her with a retirement tea ceremony in the Louisville High School Cafeteria on May 22. Principal Kyle Hammond began the ceremony with a welcome, followed by a presentation of a plaque from Louisville High School to Matthews honoring her for 47 years of teaching and her other vast accomplishments.
Matthews then spoke and gave her background. Matthews graduated from Louisville High School. She then married her husband, , in 1962. After a few years, she then attended Mississippi State University to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies and English. She began her teaching career at Neshoba Central High School in Philadelphia, where she taught Mississippi History/Civics and World History.
After teaching there one year, Matthews was offered a position to teach English and Social Studies at Pearl River School (Choctaw Central High School) in Philadelphia. She went on to work here for 21 years, and then retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1985.
The following year, Matthews was called in to substitute teach for two English teachers at Louisville High School. After doing this, the LMSD hired her to teach U.S. History at LHS, and also teach English at Noxapater High School on the same day.
After two years, Matthews returned to Louisville High School to finish her years teaching Social Studies.
Matthews’ additional teaching stints include night classes at Mary Holmes Junior College, East Central Community College, Louisville Vocational Center, Choctaw Reservation, and the Philadelphia Vocational Center.
Additional education for Matthews includes a Masters of Education degree from Mississippi State University, as well as studying at Utah State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Minnesota, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Matthews’ accomplishments stretch further than the classroom, as she has been a class act in regards to community and family.
Some of the positions and organizations she has been involved with over the years include: Mississippi Horse Association (past Secretary), Mississippi Council for Social Studies, Mississippi Geographic Alliance, Mississippi Professional Educator, Louisville Lioness Club (past President), Colonial Dames Society (Librarian & Historian), Daughters of the American Revolution (past Regent, Vice Regent, Good Citizenship Chairperson), Kappa Delta Pi (Educational Honor Society), First Baptist Church in Louisville (past Sunday School Teacher, Training Union Director).
Matthews also has school related positions and organizations, including: Yearbook Advisor at Choctaw Central High School (The Na Hoya), National Honor Society Advisor at Choctaw Central High School, Homeroom Advisor (LHS), and LHS Social Studies Department Chairperson.
Matthews has received numerous awards during her 47 years of teaching. Some of those awards are: Mississippi Student teacher Achievement Recognition Award (Star Teacher), Outstanding Teacher for the Louisville Municipal School District, Wal-Mart Teacher of American History, Outstanding Teacher of American History Award Nanih Waiya Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Outstanding Teacher of American History Award for the State of Mississippi (Daughters of the State of Mississippi Society of the American Revolution, and The Jessie Palmer Social Studies Education of the Year Award for the State of Mississippi.
Matthews spoke on why she became a teacher. “My ninth grade Mississippi History teacher could make studying Mississippi so interesting,” Matthews said. “Her enthusiasm of History sparked a desire in me to become a History teacher just like her.”
With her experience and joy for her profession, Matthews was able to get the most from her students every single day. “I always gave them a paper at the start of class that had what I expected of them,” Matthews said. “I called it my “Class Expectations.” I set goals at that time for what I expected them to do.”
Teaching for so many years, Matthews has seen the changes in the school as well as students themselves. “Every generation has its own thing,” she said. “The way they dress is one of the biggest changes. Another thing I have seen in the most recent students is they do not turn in homework. I don’t get it back like I use to.”
Matthews has also seen the changes that have been affected by technology. “As far as curriculum, we had new teaching techniques,” she said. “For instance, this year I have gotten to use a Promethean board, which has been a wonderful help. So new technology that has came in has been very helpful to the school and teachers.”
The most important thing that Matthews accredits to her longetivity in the teaching world is her true love for her students and profession. “I have taught for 47 years and every moment has been most rewarding,” she said. “When the school (day or year) ends and I began to reflect back over the faces that lit up when they accomplished a goal, their smiles of happiness and joy, students furthering their education and becoming successful in life. I thank God for these rich blessings and that He gave me the opportunity to be a part of the process of helping mold the lives of all the students I have taught. I love my profession.”
Matthews has no plans at this time after her retirement, but plans to start back teaching night classes this upcoming January. The LMSD would like to thank Matthews for her 25 years of services with them and will fondly remember the Annie Pearl Matthews era as a glorious time on the district’s history.