The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

Meet the Staff
Maile Hickman
Maile Hickman
Social Media Editor

Maile is a senior at Free State High School that plays tennis and loves fashion and writing. Outside of school, she enjoys collecting CDs and going to flea markets and thrift stores.

FEATURE: Decades of Dedication

Teacher Annette McDonald reflects on her time at Free State
Rachel Bruffett
Ms. McDonald retires after more than 20 years of teaching at Free State.

As the year comes to an end, math teacher Annette McDonald is preparing to retire after more than 20 years of teaching and coaching at Free State. Since McDonald was young, she knew that she wanted to be a teacher.

“I know that it’s my personality, and I come from a family of educators, so I think it is what I have always pictured myself doing,” McDonald said.

Since 3rd grade, McDonald has loved the idea of teaching and coaching, and her passion for it extends to several areas of her life. For McDonald, being a teacher is something that has been the basis for a large part of her life.

“It’s defined me and things that I do; even my children say you’re talking to me as if I’m one of your students’,” McDonald said.
As teaching has been a defining part of her life, Free State has been a large part of McDonald’s career, and thanks to this, it has become a difficult place for her to retire from.

“Since it’s the longest career that I’ve had of the … places I’ve taught before, I feel like it’s my home, and it’s really hard to leave home,” McDonald said.

For McDonald, what makes Free State special for her is the environment that the students and administration create. Over different years and changes in staff, the desire to learn has been constant.

“Overall, I think the student body has an interest in learning,” McDonald said. “I think every principal I’ve taught under has made an effort along with my colleagues to make it an environment where learning is the priority.”

While most students at Free State have a passion for learning, for McDonald, one of the hardest lessons that she has learned over the course of her teaching career is how different each student learns.

“I grew up in a … teaching environment early on, where I was like, ‘this is the way you do it, and there’s only one way,’ and I think, over time, we’ve learned so much about how students learn,” McDonald said.

Over her teaching career, she has kept her passion for teaching through the students in her class who are willing to learn and grow. McDonald’s advice for anyone looking into teaching is to be aware of the different ways that students take in information.

“I want people that go into it to keep an open mind about how to learn, how to teach and to be conscientious of how students learn, so [they] become better teachers over time,” McDonald said.

About the Contributors
Maura Langland
Maura Langland, Reporter
Maura Langland is a senior at Free State High School. She is involved in National Honor Society, LINK Crew and is a reporter on the FSJ staff. Outside of school, she dances competitively and enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Rachel Bruffett
Rachel Bruffett, Photographer
Rachel Bruffett is a senior and a photographer for Free State Journalism. She is involved in tennis, track, LINK Crew, National Honor Society, Pre-Med Club, and Fiberbirds. In her free time, she likes to travel, cook, play with dogs, take pictures, and hang out with friends.
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