‘My motto is every child is a winner’: Camilla teacher retires after over 7 decade career

Grace Adkins, 95, is retiring after 75 years in the classroom. (Source: WALB)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 3:17 PM EDT
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CAMILLA, Ga. (WALB) - After 75 years of teaching, a Westwood Schools educator is retiring on Thursday — also her 95th birthday.

Grace Adkins got all the love and support from former and current students and her co-workers.

“Well, it’s been a great life. Indeed and with people that are learning,” Adkins said.

With a career 75 years strong, Adkins said she’s blessed to know she’s made a difference in education.

“My motto is every child is a winner. And they don’t mind getting help,” Adkins said.

Born on May 18, 1928, in Doerun, Adkins grew up inspired by her mom, also a teacher. Adkins started teaching at a young age while she was still in the 11th grade. After graduating valedictorian, she went off to college for a year. But came back home after learning there was a teacher shortage — quickly learning how to cater to each of her students.

“I never say a child can’t learn. I find out how they learn. I don’t give up,” Adkins said.

And not giving up has helped her touch so many students’ lives.

“She really truly wants to change students’ lives and she did. She changed my life,” Meghan Singleton, a former student, said.

Throughout her 75 years of teaching, she’s taught thousands of students at all grade levels at not only Westwood but also Deerfield Academy in Albany where she taught for some time.

Even though she’s retiring, her influence will be felt by students through her learning lab, which she established in 1982.

“It’s just rewarding, to be able to help children grow in that field and become confident in what they can do,” Adkins said.