Retiring Charles Henderson H.S. teacher's students make a differ - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Retiring Charles Henderson H.S. teacher's students make a difference

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Pamela Merkel was shocked at how many current and former students threw a surprise retirement party for her. Pamela Merkel was shocked at how many current and former students threw a surprise retirement party for her.
The cake thanks Merkel for her years of teaching. The cake thanks Merkel for her years of teaching.
Speaking of his former teacher, Shawn Maldon called her "the standard". Speaking of his former teacher, Shawn Maldon called her "the standard".
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TROY, AL (WSFA) -

It was shock and awe for Pamela Merkel; shocked at what she quickly realized was a surprise retirement party in her honor, and awed she was remembered not just by a few but dozens of current and former students.

The scene unfolded at Charles Henderson High School in Troy one Saturday night a few weeks ago. For the first few minutes Merkel was speechless, clearly moved and stunned so many remembered her.

"I am overwhelmed and never saw this coming," said Merkel who is retiring primarily because of health reasons.

Mrs. Merkel is wrapping up a teaching career that's spanned three decades. Merkel taught Shawn Maldon 9 years ago. It was Maldon who spearheaded the effort to honor Merkel in this way. Maldon lives in Washington, D.C., and now runs his own interpreting center, all because of what he learned in Merkel's classroom.

"She set the standards and motivated us to strive towards that," Maldon said.

Over baked chicken and green beans emotional tributes poured out from one former student after another.

"It is because of you I became a teacher," said one colleague.

Another told the crowd of around 40 that Pamela Merkel was the 'Bear Bryant' of academics at Charles Henderson High School.

In fact, Pamela Merkel was said to be so passionate and so good students say college Spanish turned out to be a breeze.

Merkel gave a speech towards the end of the ceremony and thanked her current and former pupils for changing her life for the better. Merkel received a standing ovation.

A great send off for a great teacher who clearly made a difference in the lives of hundreds.

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