Mrs. Harmon looks back on her career fondly as she moves towards retirement

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Photo by Courtney Clark

Consumer Family Science teacher Mrs. Harmon started her career in Londonderry Middle School before teaching at the high school. Although she wan’t always a teacher at the high school, Harmon has spent her entire career in the Londonderry District.

From helping her siblings with school to the inspirational teachers she had along the way, there was never any doubt that Londonderry High School teacher Donna Harmon would grow up to be a teacher.

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old,” Harmon said. “I used to teach all the smaller neighborhood kids underneath a deck that we had. I had a chalkboard and picnic benches, all lined up in rows. I’ve just always wanted to inspire people, I felt like I had a lot to share.”

Harmon started off her career in the Londonderry School District right after college. She was offered a position in the middle school teaching Consumer Family Science from the teacher who mentored her in her student teaching program. And ever since then she’s enjoyed every minute of her job because everyday she gets to teach the hobbies that were passed down through her family.

  “I’ve always cooked with my grandparents and my mom,” Harmon said. “Also my mom’s best friend was a sewer so I took sewing classes through her, and I liked sewing a lot. And that’s what they always tell you when looking for a job, make the things you enjoy something you do everyday.”

From building rockets to cooking, her position at the middle school covered so much material that she loved working with her students on.

“I’m a hands-on person,” Harmon said. “I like to touch and manipulate things so I can get a point across or so I can get a solid product at the end, whether it be a cupcake or a tote bag.”

When the middle school decided to incorporate a different program than Harmon’s, she was offered the position she has now at the high school. At first it was a big adjustment from middle school, but Harmon has been able to see the positives to both levels.

“In the middle school I taught one thing all day, each quarter it changed,” Harmon said. “I was very practiced, very rehearsed, I knew my stuff. Here it’s a little crazier since I teach four to five things everyday, so it’s a lot of planning and preparation. So it’s different, but I love it.”

One of the things Harmon loved most about her job was helping her students, not only in school, but out of school as well. Harmon still has fond memories of all the teachers and students she got to meet during her time at Londonderry.

“Lot of teachers and a lot of kids [bring back good memories],” Harmon said. “In matter of fact, I still drive down Mammoth and think of certain kids that live in certain homes that I had back years and years ago.”

During the pandemic this became harder for Harmon to do, she tried to reach out through emails or anyway possible. Another struggle for Harmon was adapting to the changes we’ve seen in the past two years, especially since she wanted to connect and help her students in any way possible, even when remote.

“I didn’t like last spring when we were fully remote,” Harmon said. “I had a really hard time with that. But I emailed my students a lot. Not just seeing them face to face, but also just emailing them personally. I’ve never spent that much time on a computer before!”

Although these past years have been different, the time Harmon has been able to spend with her students has left them with knowledge they can use in their daily life, along with positive memories of her and her class.

“Mrs. Harmon’s class was always something I looked forward to,” LHS Alumni Britney Clark said. “I took sewing and loved how every assignment was up to each student and so individualized. Mrs. Harmon always helped everyone and let the whole class express themselves freely through their work.”

From Alumnis like Clark, it is evident that Harmon has made a positive impact on both the middle school and high school. As she moves towards retirement, Harmon will look back on her time at LHS fondly, but is excited to spend time with her family.

“I can’t wait [for retirement],” Harmon said. “I have a lot of hobbies and things I want to pick up , since over the years I haven’t done as much as I’d like to. I also want to travel. I’m waiting for Covid to be finished so I can just get out there. My son is out in Colorado and my daughter is in Boston. I want to see my daughter more and I want to check out where my son is living and what he’s been doing.”

As Harmon leaves behind her time at LHS, she is grateful for the memories she has and wants to make sure everyone knows they can do what she did, turning a passion into a job.

“I want all the seniors and everyone through the years to dream. Dream big, and follow your dreams. Because you can do anything you set your mind to.”

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