AURORA – Batavia resident Anna Wollert said she has a lot of warm memories of first grade.
The 21-year-old credited Ann Luebbering, first-grade teacher at Annunciation BVM Catholic Elementary School in Aurora, for creating those memories.
"We learned a lot, but it also was a lot of fun," Wollert said.
Wollert was among those former students Monday wishing Luebbering well as she gets ready to retire after teaching first-grade at the school for 30 years. Her last day is June 5.
A table at Monday's open house was filled with thank-you notes from former and current students, just one indication of the impact she has had on her students.
One of Luebbering's longstanding traditions at the school was to have students dress up as their favorite saints on All Saint's Day.
"We learned a lot about the saints," Wollert said. "I was Mary Magdalene because I had really long hair."
Luebbering said retiring from Annunciation is "bittersweet."
"I'm going to miss the children and my fellow co-workers," she said. "It's just one big family here. I've been surrounded by good families and good co-workers for 30 years. It's time, though."
Luebbering has been teaching first grade for 36 years. Before coming to Annunciation School, she taught first grade in Bloomingdale and St. Louis. Over the years, she said she has taught about 1,000 students. Luebbering said she loves teaching first grade.
"They're the sweetest at that age," she said. "They're innocent. I love that."
Annunciation School parent Kelly Cwinski of North Aurora said she liked the individual attention that her children received from Luebbering.
"She makes the kids feel special," Cwinski said. "She is very nurturing and kind."
And she enjoys the stories Luebbering tells.
"She has the greatest stories, either when she was a child or of things that have happened to her over the years," Cwinski said.