By Bob Skolnik
The school bell rang for the last time on June 2 at Congress Park School in Brookfield for two veteran teachers who are retiring after long tenures there.
Fourth-grade teacher Nancy Bolen and fifth-grade teacher Margaret "Peg" Adamczyk are retiring after decades at Congress Park. Bolen has taught at Congress Park for 34 years, while Adamczyk has taught at the Brookfield school for 28 years.
"Both are just caring and compassionate teachers who have impacted so many, many kids over the years here at Congress Park," said Terry Dutton, the principal at Congress Park. "It's an amazing thing when you have the tenure that they have."
Maureen Lockie, the head of the Learning Resource Center at Congress Park School, says that Adamczyk and Bolen will be sorely missed.
"These two women are part of the heart of the school," Lockie said.
The week before school ended, there was an after-school party attended by fellow teachers, current and former students, and a few parents to celebrate their careers. Current and former students agreed that both teachers were nice, fun, and encouraging.
Sixth-grader Rianna Swain had both Bolen and Adamczyk as teachers. She has fond memories of both and called Adamczyk "like the nicest teacher I ever had. She was my favorite teacher of all time and I'm really going to miss her."
Abby Zabrodsky, who graduated from Lyons Township High School on May 29, came back to Congress Park with her sister Natalie to say goodbye. Bolen was her third-grade teacher and played an important role in her life.
"I cried a lot as a kid and Mrs. Bolen, she kind of kind of had that nice tough love," said Abby Zabrodsky. "She would still be supportive, but she would tell me that I needed to quit crying and get back to work and that helped me get over my issues."
Natalie Zabrodsky, who just graduated from Park Junior High School, had Bolen for both third and fourth grades and Adamczyk for fifth grade. She remembers their positive, friendly attitudes.
"I just remember if I was having a bad day, I would just walk into the classroom and [Bolen] would be there with a big smile on her face, and it was just a great way to start the day," Natalie said. "Both of them always had such positive attitudes."
Bolen, a petite woman, is known for her booming voice that echoes through the halls at Congress Park.
"It's the Italian in me," Bolen said. "I just teach loud."
Adamczyk was the faculty adviser to the student council and loved teaching social studies.
"I just think it is so fascinating and it's always so much fun, because there is always one child at the end who says I loved it, I learned so much and it's so interesting," Adamczyk said.
Tyler Hone, who just completed his sophomore year at LTHS, had Adamczyk for fifth grade.
I have to say she was one of my favorite teachers here," Hone said. "She always had that peppy attitude, ready to teach everyone. She was never in a bad mood."
Christina Andes, now a parent of two, had Adamczyk as a teacher -- as did her children.
"Ms. Adamczyk was always fun loving, she's always been that high spirit," Andes said. "She knew when there was something wrong and how to handle it. I was always there and always struggling, and she was there behind me helping me."
Bolen taught current LTHS student Christina Rossetti as well as Rossetti's dad, Joe, and one of her uncles.
"I always remember the encouragement I got from her to always do my best and try really hard in school," Rossetti said, adding that Adamczyk was always encouraging when Rossetti was on the Congress Park Student Council.
Bolen's current students say that she is fun teacher.
"She's funny, she likes to joke around a lot," said fourth-grader Isabella Greco. "It feels good that we got to have her in her last year."
Both Adamczyk and Bolen say that they will miss the kids and their colleagues the most.
"I think the older I get the more love I have for kids," said Bolen, choking up at the end of the party. Bolen started out a special education teacher and has taught second, third and fourth grades at Congress Park.
Adamczyk taught in Catholic schools for six years before coming to Congress Park after taking a few years off to raise her children when they were young. She has taught third, fifth and sixth grades at Congress Park.
"It's a wonderful job," Adamczyk said. "A school is more than a building. It's the staff and this staff is unbelievable."
Both Adamczyk and Bolen are not leaving Congress Park entirely. They will be back as substitute teachers next year.
"You kind of know when it's time [to retire]," Adamczyk said. "But we're both going to come back and sub."