Betty Waddell, long-time sixth-grade teacher at the Lodi Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School, retired this month. Waddell was born in Napa, where she also attended school through the 10th grade. She spent 11th grade at Monterey Bay Academy, located near Santa Cruz. She then transferred to Rio Lindo Academy when it opened near Santa Rosa, where she was a part of the first graduating class.
Waddell was determined to spend no more than two years in college, so she pursued studies in secretarial work at Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley and worked as a secretary for the summer. After discovering that sitting behind a desk wasn’t a job for her, she returned to PUC. Three more years of study led to an education degree. She began teaching and realized that this was the field for her.
Her first teaching position was a first/second grade combo class at the Stockton Seventh-day Adventist School. While at Fresno Academy, she spent three years teaching fifth grade and one year in first grade. After coming to Lodi, she taught first grade and students in sixth through eighth grade for the next 30 years. The middle school level is her favorite age group.
Waddell enjoys children and said she will miss the students and the relationship she has with them. She remembers the day a first-grader told her, “I have athletic feet,” when she meant that she had athlete’s foot. She has enjoyed teaching at Adventist Christian schools and being involved in leading students to Jesus.
“Being able to talk about Jesus is what I love to do,” she said.
Waddell has taught a social graces class to sixth grade students for the past 20 years. The unit culminates in spending a whole day putting into practice the lessons learned at a banquet, complete with formal dress, fine china and expected rules of etiquette — including cellphone dos and don’ts. Entertainment always follows, and later, thank-you notes are completed and mailed.
Marine biology science camp also provides her with 20 years of great memories. She took her students to the Mendocino Biological Field Station on the Albion River near Fort Bragg. While there, the students participated in biology classes, trips to the tide pools, lighthouse and digging along the banks of the estuary.
Betty plans to stay busy. Some of her plans include substitute teaching at the Lodi Seventh-day Adventist School and doing some traveling, which will include visiting her sister in Albuquerque, N.M.