Haw River Elementary School says goodbye to beloved teacher Betty Ray as she retires after 50 years

What's Right with Our Schools

HAW RIVER, N.C. — Betty Ray says she knew on her very first day at Haw River Elementary School she was where she needed to be.

“My hand touched the doorknob to come in, and all of a sudden I remembered a verse that says ‘who soever gives a child a cup of water in my name shall be blessed’ and I realized I was about to walk into the most awesome job there ever was because I was going to meet with children every day and I could make or break. I just started praying that I would be uplifting to them and that I could help them,” Ray said.

That was 50 years and many, many memories ago.

At the time Ray was a teacher assistant. 

“When I started, I started under open classroom. And that meant there were no walls in the entire building with nine teachers. And that was why they hired me to assist the teachers. And that’s where it started.”

This month it ended with her retirement. There was a parade of family, friends and co-workers and the naming of the car rider line to Betty Ray Way.

She says she was blessed at Haw River because she was always surrounded by love.

As she says good-bye to the life she has known for 50 years she takes with her lots of memories.

“I will remember every year and as many groups of children as I can because I learned from them,” she said. “They taught me. I just love them so much. And I hope they know that!”

And now this celebration only adds to them.

“I’m just honored, humbled,” Ray said. “I don’t know that I deserved all of this.”

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