Submitted by Anya Grondalski
CHARLTON – Charlton Heritage School art teacher Cynthia Rawson is saying farewell after 40 years with the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District.
Rawson always knew that she had a passion for art and it was halfway through high school when she decided it was either art or writing that would become her career. She attended Providence College for her Bachelor’s degrees in both Education and Art, later receiving her Masters in Art Education from UMass Dartmouth. Teaching art in the Dudley-Charlton (D.C.) schools has been her only job and she’s loved every second of it. Right out of college, she was looking for a position teaching and found out D.C. was hiring at a family picnic in Charlton.
“The phone number was written down on a brown paper bag,” Rawson says.
Within one day she was hired. Rawson fondly reminisced on this, stating “It was really a leap of faith. I’m truly blessed.”
Rawson has been teaching at Heritage School since the day it was built. Before then, she had to travel every day between the two towns, never having a designated art room.
“I had my own art cart that I had to bring around with me,” Rawson says.
She recalls one comedic memory where she was making her commute from Dudley to Charlton and was late to work due to a herd of cows blocking the road on Dresser Hill.
When asked what has made her feel most humbled during her career, Rawson replied by saying “Oh, it’s when I started to have kids of kids. I love teaching the second generation…I feel like a tradition, a little relic.”
Rawson has spent two-thirds of her life in Dudley-Charlton, and is not yet ready to completely close the door.
“I hope I can still stay involved. I’ll continue doing my art lessons and hopefully, I can stay on the DCEF board,” she says.
She also wants to continue teaching the art of Santa portraits, which has become a yearly tradition with all of her classes. Rawson’s post-retirement plans do not involve re-location or big vacations, she simply hopes to spend her extra time with family, especially her granddaughter Madison. Rawson also enjoys gardening, playing with her dogs, and watching hockey.
“ When I would think about my retirement, I would say ‘How can I leave this?’, but I’ve been trying to be more positive. I now think about how blessed I’ve been. I made friends that are now family, I worked with and for great people, and I’m so so proud to have been a part of it all,” she says.
She hopes that all her past and present students remember what she tells all of her classes, that “‘Art gives everyone a voice, and we all have something to say, and we say it in those very different ways. Whether it’s a whisper or a scream. ”