MEREDITH — Marjorie Lee, who devoted 65 years to the Inter-Lakes School District, will remain a presence there forever as the library of Inter-Lakes High School will carry her name and bear her portrait.
Following the decision of the School Board in May, some two dozen former colleagues and students gathered in the library last night to dedicate it as the "Miss Marjorie Lee Library." The plaque read simply "A Teacher, Mentor and Friend," while the portrait, the first painted by Vynnie Hale, captured the sharp eye and warm smile of a beloved and respected teacher.
Although Richard Hanson, chairman of the School Board, opened the proceedings, Lee quickly interrupted to say, "I think we should introduce ourselves."
Bob McNabb said "If you taught here, you probably threw me out of your class," and said he came to honor "the best teacher I ever had." One colleague described herself as "lunch partner," another as a "breakfast buddy" and a third move Lee to laughter by recalling a misplaced handbag.
Hale introduced himself as "the self-proclaimed teacher's pet of Miss Lee." Longtime School Board member Jack Carty said he was the "the father of the only valedictorian who did not have his speech screened by Miss Lee" for fear of what she might find. "I'm here because I'm in awe of this woman," John Poindexter said flatly.
Hanson said that this spring the School Board received a secret request from the Inter-Lakes Alumni Association to name the library for Lee. When he said he could not recall ever naming a room for an individual, Howard Cunningham, a fixture in the district since 1968, reminded him that a restroom was named Whitcher Hall after a history teacher.
Delighted with the portrait and plaque, Lee said "the library is so full of important things," moving Hanson to reply "and now you are one of them."
Lee began her career teaching English at Quimby School in Sandwich, and when it closed in 1963 came to Inter-Lakes High School, where she taught for the next 28 years. She also was an adviser for the "Pinnacle," the annual yearbook which earlier this year was dedicated to her, as well as to the National Honor Society. She introduced the journalism and drama clubs.
In 1991, when declining enrollment prompted the administration to shrink the English Department, Lee offered to retire, but then turned to her second passion, running a small business in the form of the school store.
"I sold everything but brainpower," she said.
During her 22 years of management, the profits from the store funded 74 scholarships, and in June Kylie Dickinson became the first recipient of the Marjorie Lee Scholarship..
Lee said she is spending her retirement writing a book about nine schools, five of them now closed and four still open, in Meredith, Center Harbor and Sandwich. The book is destined for pride of place in the Miss Marjorie Lee Library.
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