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Retiring teacher gets surprise sendoff

Nearly everyone who’s graduated from Windsor High School over the past 35 years has had the experience of sitting in Luann Scott’s English class.

Before that, she taught for 10 years at Tidewater Academy in Sussex County. Since coming to Isle of Wight County Schools, she’s taught the children and even one grandchild of a student who attended her Tidewater classes.

Over her decades-long career, she’s become a local legend. It’s gotten to where she can’t walk down Windsor High’s hallways without students stopping her just to say hello or to tell her they’ve just been accepted to college.

Now, it’s the end of an era at the school.

Scott officially retired June 18, the last day of school for Isle of Wight County teachers. She leaves with a cumulative 45 years as an educator.

Her departure did not go unnoticed. As she walked down Windsor’s hallways and out the school’s doors June 17, a drive-by parade of her former students awaited her in the parking lot.

Scott’s daughter, Elizabeth Scott Francis, had started organizing the surprise sendoff in February. Her mother knew nothing about it.

“A couple years ago, we were talking about when she was going to retire,” Francis said. “I said, ‘Well, do you want a big party?’ and she said, ‘No, I just want people to come. I want all of my former students to come stand in front of the school and clap when I leave the last time.’”

“This is the closest we could get to clapping and standing,” Francis said.

Some of Scott’s former students traveled from out of state for the event from Florida, Georgia and West Virginia. Some even flew in from California.

“I don’t know how, but we kept it a secret,” Francis said.

Her efforts began when she created a secret Facebook group and invited some of the former students she’d met through her mother. Those students then invited others and before long, there were over 1,500 people in the group sharing their memories of Scott’s classes.

Scott is already making plans for how to spend her retirement.

“I’m going to spend time with my daughter; she’s expecting my first grandchild,” she said. “Then I’m going to go to the beach as much as and often as I want.”

She’s also planning a trip to Scotland.

“I’m going to travel and read and do things that I haven’t had time to do,” Scott said.