The following article was published in the Bangor High School newspaper, on June 1, 2002 and was written by one of Maureen's students. It gives a little insight into Maureen from the perspective of students and colleagues alike.
Dedicated Guidance Counselor Retires
He has been waiting a long time---Mrs. Hodge's husband that is, ever since he retired sixteen years ago. Surviving 32 years at Bangor High, Mrs. Hodge admitted grudgingly that "the goal was to retire when I reached a certain age."
Mrs. Hodge began teaching in 1970, and has been through all the changes in the guidance department. Always the dedicated teacher, Mrs. Hodge arrives at the high school early in the morning and usually doesn't leave until at least five in the afternoon. This is what people don't see, claims Dr. Tingley, her friend and colleague for 20 years. Her daily activities vary from calling parents and meeting with students to planning out tomorrow's work. According to Dr. Tingley, she and Mrs. Hodge "share the same ideas, and the belief that all kids can learn."
Mrs. Hodge herself "loves to interact with many different people and engage in discussion; it feels good when you can do something to help and that they're happy with the result."
They obviously are; Dr. Tingley witnesses students that regularly contact her after they have graduated to express their appreciation. Monica Willey, a junior who has had Mrs. Hodge as a counselor for the past few years said: "Even though Mrs. Hodge interacts with many different people she always takes the time to make them all feel important! She wants the best for her students. Mrs. Hodge says that she thrives in an educational environment, and loves the fact that everyone is working towards the same goal: to guide students in the direction that will most benefit their lives."
Mr. DeRespino, her guidance colleague who originally came from a smaller school, said that Mrs. Hodge looked out for him during this transition in his career. Mr. DeRespino claims that the two of them clicked in their working relationship.
Mr. DeRespino is more structured and concrete while Mrs. Hodge is more of an abstract thinker, making their distinct personalities compatible. Mr. DeRespino's role model has always supported his sweet tooth, making their partnership even sweeter.
Mrs. Hodge's most memorable experience here at Bangor High School dates back to 1981 when her son became ill and she had to leave from October to June to care for him. Teachers from all around the school worked together to cover her classes throughout the year, and that was a gesture that she will never forget: "Even though the departments are segregated, the staff came together to help. It showed me that people reach out to others when you don't expect it. People around here really care."
Colleagues and students alike are all in agreement that one of the greatest aspects of Mrs. Hodge's personality is her humor. Mr. DeRespino claimed that he will miss her joking around: "She was always able to laugh, and sometimes that's hard to do." Mrs. Hodge herself said that she indeed would miss ''having a good laugh during the day."
Guidance seems somewhat uncertain about their department after Mrs. Hodge has gone. Since Mr. DeRespino and Mrs. Hodge were so comfortable with one another, he is a little apprehensive about his new partner for the coming year. "I am happy because I think she's ready to retire and is going in some exciting directions for herself, but I'm also saddened because she has been really encouraging, and protective of me," stated Mr. DeRespino, who will be working with a new counselor for the second half of the alphabet for sophomores and seniors.
"We're going to miss her desperately in the department, but she's starting a new exciting time in her life," said Dr. Tingley.
Mrs. Hodge is indeed taking the next step by leaving the comfort of her position at the high school and building two businesses, one being an antiques and collectibles venture (Olde Maine Antiques at OldeMaine.com) and the other a college placement counseling service (CPS101.com)
Mrs. Hodge admits that taking the next step is somewhat scary, but she is "a person who needs to keep busy."
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