The quarterly newsletter for Assumption BVM Church

March, 2016 | Archived Where are they now

What has Mrs. McMillan been up to?

PicsArt (23)I grew up in a small rural town north of the Pocono Mountains outside the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area so I am not originally from the Philadelphia area. After graduating from College Misericordia (now a University), I married my husband Paul and moved to Feasterville. We joined the parish in 1974. My daughter, Kelly, was born in 1977, and my son, Paul, was born in 1979. I was busy being a stay at home mom and raising my family, until I applied and was hired as a first grade teacher at Assumption BVM in 1988.  I taught first grade for six years. I then “graduated” (heehee) to 6th grade and taught that grade for fifteen years. I eventually volunteered to move to the 4th grade level in 2009 when the enrollment was declining and teachers were, unfortunately, being either shifted around or let go. Every student, no matter what grade, held a special place in my heart. I taught 4th grade until 2012, the year the school closed. In January of that year, my husband was suddenly, and surprisingly, diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. The average survival rate for the type he had was 12-14 months. So I took a leave from school to be with him and take care of him. After two brain operations and undergoing chemo/radiation therapy, he died suddenly of a major brain bleed after only six months. We had just celebrated 38 years of marriage the month before. My family was devastated and we miss him every day. Moving on without him in my life has been the most difficult thing I ever had to do.

I did not apply to St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School because I wanted to spend all my time with my husband since I knew our time was limited. I didn’t, however, expect it to end so soon. He used to help me in the Science Lab, so my students knew him. He loved helping in the lab and being with the kids, as he had worked as a research chemist, so the “lab” was his thing.  I visited my students while on leave when I could get someone to be with my husband as I was afraid to leave him alone. I did return for a couple weeks at the end of the school year to prepare my students for exams, clean out my classroom and help with the closing of the school.

After the school closed and my husband died, my daughter needed my help with her son, my youngest grandson, who is autistic. She needed help in getting him to a special school in Newtown every day. She lived in Perkasie at the time and it was quite a driving schedule…taxi grand-mom to the rescue. (LOL) But I was happy to do it and watch him learn and grow. He is now in kindergarten near her. I continue to help her and I also began volunteering at SKD a couple days a week. I tutor children who benefit from extra help and also work with students who need enrichment and need to be challenged.

My husband and I loved to travel and I continue to take some vacations with family when I can. I took a trip to Italy with my children and some friends in 2013. It was my first time in Europe and I would go back in a heartbeat. I like to cruise and some of my favorites were to Alaska and of course the Caribbean. My most recent was to the Panama Canal this past December…such an interesting trip.

Both my children are married and live away from the Feasterville area. My daughter and her husband have two boys and now live in Sellersville. My son and his wife have one son and live in Dallas, Pennsylvania, which is actually where I grew up. Funny world!  No granddaughters…..only recently my grandson in Dallas got a female puppy….so I guess that will be my only “granddaughter” or grand-pup.(LOL)

My main role in the parish was being a teacher at the school. I truly enjoyed and felt privileged to prepare my 6th grade students for Confirmation for the fifteen years I taught that grade. But really, every grade I taught was special to me. I am so thrilled when I hear of all their accomplishments beyond their ABVM days. Many of them stay in touch with me through Facebook.

I loved teaching at Assumption BVM and I loved the closeness of all the teachers. We truly became family and continue getting together whenever we can. Assumption was a great school and we were all so sad when it closed.

My hope is that those who remember me know that I loved their children and was honored to be their teacher. And that I always tried to demonstrate and instill Christian values, develop good moral and work ethics and encourage them to always work to the best of their ability. It is sometimes said that teaching can be a thankless profession but I found it to be very rewarding and I would never trade my years as a teacher for anything.

PicsArt (22)Many former Assumption BVM School staff recently reunited to celebrate Sr. Incarnata’s 90th birthday!

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It is so nice that you still keep in touch with everyone.