Celebrating Mary Roebuck

A celebration of Mary Roebuck's dedication to students
Posted on 05/08/2018
Mary Roebuck's dedication to the students of Lynden is unparalleled. For 40 years, Roebuck made learning part of the fabric of everyday life in the elementary schools of the community.

That feat was honored recently at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary with an open house retirement part for Roebuck, who has been on medical leave this school year. 

Previously, Roebuck spoke about her time with students at Lynden and just why third grade has captured her heart.

Third grade is magical, she says. It may appear magical, in part, because she has been serving third grade students in Lynden Schools for about 40 years. “That is a very magical age,” she says. “The kids are very sweet, they can still suspend belief and imaginations are really active, but there is still enough sophistication to make progress.”

Roebuck has assisted that progress with excitement in all three Lynden elementary schools for multiple generations. 

Originally, Roebuck never considered a career in teaching, but she still gave it a try, starting out at Fisher. She then moved to Isom when it was built and Bernice Vossbeck when it opened, taking on third grade for every single one of those years. “I thought about (switching grades),” she says, “but I talked myself out of it. I love it. I’ve told people before this is the most fun you can have and still call it a job. It is different all the time, there is a lot of variety, the kids are charming and the people I work with are great.” 

Sure, Roebuck put a focus on the required curriculum, but she was always looking for new supplemental opportunities to “jazz it up” in the classroom. And that could be just about anything, from quick science experiments—the chemical reactions excite kids—or art projects that can prove fun and instrumental in teaching core subjects, such as geometry. Roebuck always tried to work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects into the class to stir creative thinking in the students. 

With about 40 years in her back pocket, Roebuck says she has gotten to know multiple generations of families. Last school year alone she had four—of 21—students in her class where she taught one of their parents. 

Outside the classroom, Roebuck puts a focus on her family. With her brothers and sister in the Port Angeles area, she makes frequent trips to the peninsula, but her own children and grandchildren live nearby, allowing her to take in events and serve as “grandma taxi.” 

Looking back, Roebuck finds it overwhelming to think about the opportunity to impact hundreds of kids and families. What kept her going all these years was the fun she was having and the positive impact she was having on the students. 

“Curriculum is first because that is what I’m hired to do,” she says, “but I want the kids to leave here with the ability to think and problem solve and to get along with others. And integrity. I want them to really have a sense of integrity, to do the right thing even when nobody is watching. I would like that for them.” 

She spent 40 years making it happen.