Throughout 32 years of teaching at Mercer Elementary School, Marybeth Eakin
has welcomed dozens of volunteers into her classroom to work one-on-one with
students on their reading skills. Some are the parents of children currently enrolled
at Mercer. Others are grandparents.
Ruth Mayers, SHHS ’70, is a lifer. She says, “I started out at Mercer as a student
60 years ago, and I never left the building.” All three of her adult children and three
of her five grandchildren attended Mercer. She still lives in the Mercer neighborhood
and loves attending the annual flag raising and lowering ceremonies, the clap-outs,
and Halloween parades. But most of all, she loves giving back to her community by
staying plugged in as a volunteer.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a child learn to read,” says
Mayers. An added bonus? “When you work with young children, and view the world
through their eyes, it keeps you young,” she declares.
Sylvia Cooper, whose granddaughter attends Mercer, also volunteers with Mrs.
Eakin’s first-graders. Cooper started out as a Lomond student and graduated from
Shaker in ’69. After retiring from her career as a teacher and principal in Bay Village, a
special “Grandparents Day” at Mercer drew her back to the classroom as a volunteer. Photo by Angelo Merendino
“There’s nothing more satisfying
than watching a child
learn to read”
“It’s a great way to stay connected
with my granddaughter, and for her
to see that as we get older we can still
give back and help out,” says Cooper. “It
makes me feel good; it’s a reward for me.
I love seeing the students’ progress as we
work on a skill.”
Mercer parent Susan Taylor finds
working with students on reading skills,
one-on-one at a table in the hallway, to
be much more her cup of tea than, say,
chaperoning a field trip. “I like that I can
really get to know them as individual
students,” she says. “I’ve seen such
remarkable progress, and I love when it
clicks with them.”
“I absolutely love having volunteers in
my classroom,” says Marybeth Eakin,
first-grade teacher at Mercer. “It benefits both
the students and me as a teacher.”
Eakin (second from left) with volunteers (L- R)
Ruth Mayers, Susan Taylor, Sylvia Cooper.
SHAKER LIFE | SUMMER 2017 59