Sara Harada has been a staple of hundreds of Havre childhoods for decades.
After graduating from Northern Montana College in 1977, she immediately jumped into the Havre Public Schools District, “before I even started student teaching. ”
After student teaching a first-grade class at Lincoln-McKinley Primary School, she made the big leap to teaching second grade at Lincoln-McKinley.
She moved to the former Devlin School in the early years of her professional career, but stuck with second-grade education.
She stayed at Devlin School for 23 years before moving back to her old chalking grounds at Lincoln-McKinley, where she remains to this day.
“I love working with children, ” Harada said. “I think just being able to instill a confidence in them, that they can learn, that all children can, (is my favorite part of teaching). I hope to give them an ‘I can do’ attitude. ”
Her students appreciate her dedication too, according to Havre Public Schools Superintendent Andy Carlson, who not only admires Harada as one of his employees, but also as his own son’s second-grade teacher.
“My son just adored her, ” Carlson said. “We got Mrs. Harada stories every evening.
“I know, like other parents, we were just thankful our child was in her class. ”
But, as Harada said, “the time was right. ”
She plans on taking some time off with her husband, a fellow recent retiree, to visit children and grandchildren.
Even as she moves on, the joy of education will stick with her.
“It just brings such joy to me when you see the sparkle in their eye and smile on their face, when you see that they learned something. Being a part of that, that every day excitement of learning, I will miss that. ”