Bratt foursome to retire at year's end
By By James Crawford
There is a beginning and an ending to every season and at Bratt Elementary a season is coming to an end with the retirement this year of four of its long-time personnel. Bratt will soon be in the need for a new administrative assistant, food service manager and two teachers as it comes to terms with the passing of the gavel from decades of experience and familiarity. The follow is a four-part story about the four teachers who will soon make the transition from the daily life at an elementary school to the daily life of a retiree.
The front office will seem a bit sparse as Glyndal Robbins, who works as an administrative assistant, departs for the last time. Robbins is a native of the Bratt area and has worked at Bratt Elementary for 35 years. She went to school at the building she has called her home away from home for all these years and began her career as an aide in the school system.
"This was many years ago. They started having teachers aides and I was one in the first group. Later, I moved into administration and that's where I've been for the last 25 years. I deal a lot with parents and really enjoy my job. I see children whose parents and now grandparents were here," said Robbins.
"It's time to retire. I'll miss the girls I've worked with for 30 years the most. We feel like family. But, I hope to see my grandchildren and travel and I love to garden. I'm not one for words I just really enjoyed my time here," said Robbins.
Eula Godwin, the Cafeteria Manager, feels the same way. Godwin has worked at Bratt for 25 years and is also a Bratt native. Godwin has a large family she is looking forward to seeing more of. She has three boys, two girls, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Godwin began her career in the school food service in 1978 at the Old Davisville School.
"You have to wait your turn in this area. I've been a manager here for five years. I could have become one sooner in Pensacola, but I didn't want to make that daily drive. I was going to work a couple more years, but it's time to go home," said Godwin. "I want to do things for the lord and spend quality time with my grandchildren."
Godwin has been singing at churches and homecomings for four years now as a member of the group Restoration and wants to expand her involvement with church related activities.
"I've lived in this area for almost 40 years and it's all I've ever known," said Godwin. "I'm excited. I've seen all my grandchildren come through here except two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Now, it will be more special because I can participate instead of just watch. I like the idea of going where I want to, when I want to. If I get bored, I can volunteer. I've always wanted to be a "pink lady."
"The school food service has gone from written recipes to computer generated menus. Everything comes from a dietician now. The computer tells how much to do.
"This has been a part of my life for such a long time I know it will be a change.
I have enjoyed the kids and tried to give them a smile. They've been a blessing," said Godwin.
Clara Cobb has been teaching for 40 years in Escambia County. She spent five years at Century and 35 in the Bratt area. She has been at Bratt now for 25 years. She is a Bratt native and went to Ernest Ward.
"I came back because I always enjoyed teaching. It's one of the most rewarding experiences," said Cobb.
The experience is so rewarding in fact that Cobb really doesn't want to leave Bratt at all. But the choice may not be her own. Cobb joined the drop program five years ago and is bound by the terms of that agreement. "If the legislation passes a bill I can stay three more years and I will," said Cobb.
Cobb has worked as a primary research teacher for k-3 and worked summer school as a administrative assistant and knows the system inside and out.
If the drop program mandates that she indeed retire this year, she won't sit around complaining. In fact, she doesn't plan to sit much at all. She plans to travel and visit shelters and nursing homes and spend more time with grandchildren. Cobb has a son in Oklahoma.
"I'm high on me. I don't want to leave, even though I made the decision five years ago for the money factor. At this time, I hope they make the decision to let me serve three more years," said Cobb.
If not, she plans to take up ballroom dancing. " I'm going to dance all night and sleep my eight hours. I won't sleep my life away, no grass will grow under my feet," said Cobb.
Jan Hall started her career in the Florida School System at Ernest Ward High. Her first year of teaching was in Bay Minette when she decided to return home. Hall had been born in Huxford and moved to Walnut Hill in eighth grade where she grew up.
She graduated from Troy State and has two sons. One son is an executive director with the YMCA in Warner Robbins, Ga. and the other is a forester who lives in Atmore. She has two grandchildren, both boys.
"I want to be able to do anything I want to any time I want to. Other than that I have no real plans. I'm just going to enjoy it. It's ridiculous, people put off retiring," said Hall. "I'm going to enjoy my time even though I don't have a lot of money."
Hall works at the PE teacher at Bratt and has enjoys her daily time with the children the most. "They used to send me back and forth between the schools. I'm going to miss the kids the most. I have a good time with them. But, I've seen a tremendous change over the years, some bad, some good – It's time to go, I've had a great time.