By Sara Kraft
Special to the Catholic Key
MARYVILLE, Mo. — St. Gregory Barbarigo Catholic School in Maryville, Missouri will be missing a familiar face next fall. After 34 years in the St. Gregory classroom and 37 total years of teaching, Diane Lade is retiring from the classroom.
Mrs. Lade currently teaches 5-8th grade math, 8th grade reading, English, and social studies at St. Gregory Catholic School. She also is the 8th grade counselor and directs the 8th grade play each year.
Lade originally earned her degree in business and physical education from Tarkio College in May 1978. In 1998, Lade completed her Masters of Science in Education from Northwest Missouri State University in order to be certified to teach additional subjects. She tells her eighth graders, “Get your degree, and you don’t know where life is going to lead you.”
Diane’s career has been filled with many highlights, but none outweigh the joy of working with children. “One highlight of my career is seeing the kids succeed and come back and share their successes. Some of them have had to overcome many obstacles but have persevered,” explained Diane. “I will miss the kids. That will be hard. I will also miss the parents and the people I work with.”
Lade is known for the energy she brought to her profession. Every year, Lade made up a special, unique birthday song for each of her students. She also could be found dancing and singing in the classroom to help make learning fun.
“Mrs. Lade just makes 8th grade so much fun and very memorable. She makes it a big deal that our eighth graders are now leaders of the school,” explained Abby Dropinski, former student and now current faculty member.
“Her biggest strength is that she tells her students like it is in a caring way to help prepare the kids for public high school. Mrs. Lade is a good mentor and role model. What amazes me is how well she keeps track of former students. She truly cares about what is going on and goes above and beyond all the time. She makes me want to be that kind of teacher. It is hard to imagine St. Gregory’s without her,” credits Dropinski.
Lade has not only made an enduring impact on the minds of countless students at St. Gregory’s, but will also leave a lasting impact on the very structure of the school. Originally a physical education teacher, Lade believes in the importance of physical exertion. She helped fundraise to build the St. Gregory gym in 1998. Prior to its construction, physical education classes were taught in the 7th grade classroom which greatly limited the activities possible. Thanks to Lade’s efforts, St. Gregory’s has the facilities to educate the mind, soul, and body of their students.
Diane is thankful for the opportunity to work in a Catholic school. “Working in a Catholic school has been such a blessing as I have been able to grow in my faith as I helped develop and encourage the children in theirs,” Lade said. “I think with any subject we gain greater understanding when we work to help others understand, and growing in one’s faith is no exception. Being able to live your faith fully each day and watching the commitment of fellow teachers, staff, parents and students has given me the chance to establish a firm foundation of faith which has allowed me to weather some pretty rough storms. I am forever grateful for the support and love that St. Gregory’s has shown me and my family.”
Lade taught all three of her children in the classroom. In 2004, her son Robbie was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The St. Gregory’s and Maryville communities rallied around their family. Robbie continues to live with Diane and her husband. After retirement, she plans to spend more time with her husband, Robbie and her grandchildren.
“I am quite humbled by our parents for entrusting their children to me for many years. It is both a responsibility and an honor to be trusted for so many years,” Lade says.