Mrs. Bender’s Last Run

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Mrs. Bender’s Last Run

Mrs. Bender is leaving after 20 of the best years and going off to help to conformation class at St. Mary's.

Mrs. Bender is leaving after 20 of the best years and going off to help to conformation class at St. Mary's.

Mrs. Bender is leaving after 20 of the best years and going off to help to conformation class at St. Mary's.

Mrs. Bender is leaving after 20 of the best years and going off to help to conformation class at St. Mary's.

Ellie English

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After the best 20 years of her life, Mrs. Bender has heard a call from God to move onto Saint Mary’s. She will be running the confirmation class and helping kids grow closer to God just as she has done at Bishop Kelley. Mrs. Bender has been a huge part of Bishop Kelley. She started with the Search retreat and that seemed to be the beginning of her new adventure at this school. Running this retreat had the most positive effect on her, for she grew closer to students who she would later have in class.  

“I would say that the involvement in the Search Retreat is what had the most effect on me because those retreats, many times, poured over into the classroom,” Bender said.

The program has grown immensely in the past years. In 1997 the max kids they received was around 22, but now they have a minimum of 40 kids along with 30 leaders. These students are some of the most heart-warming, positive, energetic students Mrs. Bender has ever taught, but no one has ever compared to Isaac Cook, the student who had the biggest impact on her. Isaac was fighting brain cancer during his years at Kelley. He would come to school every day until the second block and leave to receive his treatments. He was always smiling, and having Isaac in Mrs. Bender’s life changed her for the best.

”He would tell a joke, try to engage in the class, even though he was feeling awful and then when Isaac got up to leave for his treatment, he said, “Never forget who loves you!”  When he died I was so sad, he really touched my heart but we all gained a saint that day,” Bender said.

Students have always been what kept Mrs. Bender going. Through thick and thin, they have been there for her just as she was for them. Lizzie Smith (10) was one of the many lucky students who was able to experience Mrs. Bender’s unusual, but effective teaching style.

“Even though I have the most memories of her crazy stories such as when she drowned squirrels, she has always taught me important life lessons and helped me grow closer to God,” Smith said.

Teenagers are something special, yet they seem to be a real gift from the holy spirit to Mrs. Bender. She will forever be grateful for receiving the opportunity to work with the hardest, yet the most rewarding type of kids. Saying goodbye is said to be the hardest thing one can encounter, and for Mrs. Bender, she is faced with leaving some of the best things. Bender mentioned several people she will miss the most.

“People who I’ve come to love over the years are, my good friend, Ken Coughlin and our little talks, seeing Katherine Devonshire and her love for life, Deb Butler who checks up on me every once in a while, Katie Abboud who is still my Molly’s favorite teacher, Kathy Scribner who is one of the sweetest ladies I know, Susan Furr in her OSU orange and me in my OU red, it’s a good rivalry, Brian Arenson who taught me how to catch varmints, just to name a few,” Bender said.

Following a list of adults, she once again said how much the students meant to her. They have kept her young and kept her in the know. With knowing how much of an impact she has made on hundreds of kids’ lives, she is finally content with signing off.

“BK will always have a special place in this old lady’s heart!” Bender said.

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