ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland area school board this week honored staff members who are making this their final year in education.

The Regional School Unit 13 Board held a reception Thursday afternoon for teachers, educational technicians, administrative assistants and bus drivers who are retiring later this month.

The two most veteran staff members were elementary school teachers Margie Gerrish and Diana Simendinger who both were hired for the Rockland area school system — then SAD 5 — in 1977.

“Thank you for your service to our children. If you changed the life of one child, you have changed the world,” Superintendent John McDonald said.

Board Chairman Steve Roberts said the civilization that we live in did not happen by accident but is the result of education, specifically public education.

In addition to Gerrish and Simendinger, the board honored high school math teacher Peggy Weeks, who was hired in 1979; bus driver Joan Sanborn, who has been with the district since 1990; educational technician Kathy Marcoux, who was hired in 1993; ed tech Deborah Glover, who was hired in 1988; bus driver Ernie Hammond, who has been with the district since 1992; administrative assistant Dee Thibodeau, who began at McLain School in 1988 and now is at the South School; teacher Bob Jean, who has been with the district since 1983; and Owls Head Central School administrative assistant Suzanne Philbrook, who was hired in 1985.

An open house for Thibodeau also is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. June 11 at the Landings Restaurant in Rockland.

Also retiring, but not in attendance Thursday, are Oceanside High School counselor Christopher Blackmon, who has been with the district for 27 years; high school math teacher Don Pietroski, who has served 29 years; high school art teacher Susan Johnson, who was hired in 1992; and high school history teacher Russell Dole, who was hired in 1994.