LUSK – Commemorative quilts sewn by a former employee, gift baskets from current and former students and a big celebration were all part of the end-of-year party and retirement surprise for Lusk Early Childhood Center Coordinator Martha Bridge and Family Advocate and Transportation Terry Jensen.
Bridge and Jensen started their careers with Wyoming Child and Family Development twenty years ago and have taught, mentored and loved generations of children in Niobrara county. As new center coordinator Kalene White stated, “Martha helped raise my boys and now I am excited to step into the same role that has such an impact on my family.”
Bridge often refers to Jensen as her “irreplaceable co-pilot” and the two embraced following the surprise retirement ceremony. Wiping away tears Bridge stated, “As you all know this is my heart, right here. These kids and celebrating everything about them and their families. It has been my everything for twenty years and while I am excited to retire and spend more time with my own grandchildren and will miss every minute of my time at the preschool.”
Both women have been instrumental in the expansion and improvement of the head start, early head start, discovery daycare and CDC programs in Lusk. Bridge transitioned from classroom teacher to center coordinator only a few years ago.They have turned the preschool into a program built on respect and kindness that fosters not just early childhood education, but mental and emotional good health and supports families at their most vulnerable times.
Lusk has been recognized at both the state and regional level of head start as an exemplary program that combines the best of the education, child development, child health and child welfare worlds.
There is no doubt Jensen and Bridge will leave a void that cannot be filled but their legacy will continue in the families they have helped, the teachers and staff the have mentored, and the difference they have made in Niobrara county.