“All I’ve done is to give you a book. You have to have the courage to learn what’s inside it.” — Miss Freida Joy Riley, from the book “Rocket Boys”
For around 50 years, the town of Colo has been Vickie Wilson’s home. She is the daughter of Earl and Doris Otto and grew up with two brothers and three sisters. Vickie attended the Colo Community School and graduated in 1981. She furthered her education, knowing she wanted a career in teaching.
Vickie explained, without hesitation, why she wanted to teach and the goal she wanted to fulfill. “I wanted to become a teacher because I love working with kids. Plus, I had an extra special first-grade teacher, LaVonn Schumann, who instilled the love of learning. My goal for teaching,” she continued, “to make a difference in a child’s life. I want students to be lifelong learners. I enjoy learning new things every day.”
Vickie began teaching at the Colo Community School in August of 1986. “I worked as a teacher associate before I became a fifth-grade teacher,” said Vickie. “As an associate, I worked with students from kindergarten to sixth-graders.” In 1995, Vickie began teaching fifth grade, she worked several years at the Zearing building and currently she is teaching fifth grade in the Colo building.
Working with kids for over 30 years can fill scrapbooks with memorable times. Vickie shared her favorite memory, which was taking a trip with the kids each year. “I use to take the fifth-graders to Iowa City on an extended day field trip. We would tour the Old Capital, Natural History Museum, Carver-Hawkeye Arena and have a family-style meal at the Amana Colonies,” she commented. “The students always looked forward to that trip.”
Changes always arise with each new school year. Students move up to the next grade, teachers greet new faces and learn new names. Teachers also prepare new lessons and learn new ways of teaching. Especially in the world of computers and the Internet. “Technology has had a big impact in the classroom,” stated Vickie. “Education seems to go in cycles. I started teaching reading with a basal reader, then went to teaching reading skills in trade books, and now we are back to teaching skills from a basal reader,” she continued.
No matter the changes faced each year, Vickie returns every day to the classroom because of her students. So when asked what she will miss the most about teaching came as no surprise. “I will miss the students and staff when I retire. I love small schools. The students, parents and teachers are the best.”
Vickie not only dedicated her teaching career to Colo-NESCO, she has also dedicated herself to many organizations in the community, such as serving as an EMT/firefighter on the Colo Fire Department for 18 years.
She has taught Sunday School, Bible School and served on several other committees as a member of the Colo United Methodist Church. She has been on the Colo Rec. Board, and currently is on the Colo Library Board.
You may have seen Vickie coaching throughout the years — U6 and U8 soccer, T-ball, peewee baseball and softball, junior high 6/6 and 5/5 basketball, junior high track and assistant high school volleyball coach.
Vickie and her husband John chose to raise their two boys, Nathon, and Austin, in the same small community they both grew up in, and now they have the joy of watching their two grandsons, Abram and Corwin, also grow and flourish in Colo. Vickie excitedly added, “With retiring, I will be able to spend more time with my grandkids.”
In conclusion, Vickie had some advice for all of the students she has taught throughout the years. “Read, read what you like, read something new, read, read, read. Knowledge is power.”
She also wanted to leave some advice for any new teachers. “Take it one day at a time, get to know your students and don’t sweat the small stuff. Teaching is the hardest job you will ever have, but love!”