Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Stacy worked every job at local Head Start

 


Anneliese Stacy has done so much in 26 years at Haines Head Start, it’s difficult to imagine the program without her, director Karen Bryant told a crowd of about 60 parents, teachers and program supporters at a retirement party for Stacy Friday.

Hired in the mid-1980s, Stacy has worked every job in the program – including cook, classroom aide, teacher, bus driver, bus aide, maintenance specialist and program director, Bryant said.

She also has donated countless hours after school and on weekends to make the program a success, including butchering donated moose, decorating the school and each year knitting hats for students.

“I don’t know anyone more dedicated to her job, nor anyone more devoted to this town’s children. And the children love her,” Bryant said.

Ironically, Stacy almost wasn’t hired, said resident Pat Warren, a member of the Head Start board when Stacy first applied to be program cook. Some board members were concerned Stacy’s strong German accent and odd-sounding first name would throw students off.

“I said, ‘Don’t judge her by her accent. Kids can figure things out. You may be passing up a good applicant if you don’t look at all their qualities,” Warren recounted. Stacy’s interview and resume (she had operated a daycare facility in Oregon) showed a concern for children that proved true, Warren said.

“Teacher Anneliese has raised a lot of our children. This is where their foundation is and teacher Anneliese has done a lot to give our kids a head start in the community,” Warren said.

Instead of an obstacle, Stacy’s German heritage became an asset to the program’s offerings, Bryant and others said Friday. “Often I have seen a child happily working by himself – and singing a song in German… One year we had several children excited about learning German and who came to school early to join Anneliese in a preschool German class. Quite amazing,” she said.

Jennie Peters said grandson Kyle Dozier, after encountering a German man at a ferry terminal, started into singing a German folk song he learned at Head Start. The man joined in and they sang together, she said. “It was wonderful and this is the kind of wonderfulness (Stacy) brought to the community,” Peters said.

In an interview after the party, Stacy said staff camaraderie was a big part of her longevity at the preschool. “The nice thing about the program is the staff all works together. That makes you want to come back again.”

Head Start has changed during her tenure, with a focus that has shifted away from activities like cooking to a more academic bent geared at preparing students for kindergarten, she said. She attends high school graduation each year to see her former students, she said.

Stacy is from a family of six children and she and husband Bill Stacy raised six boys and two girls of their own. “I like children. My body is 78 years old but my mind is 17. You learn from little kids, (things like) listening and patience.”