Corvette-driving 87-Year-Old Says Kindergarteners Keep Her Young
Carroll County has dedicated Wednesday, Feb. 22, to instructional assistants in schools. One of them has been on the job 46 years.
Eldersburg resident Marguerite Knauff wakes up early and hops into her red Corvette with a stick shift to drive to work. As an instructional assistant, she gets to Carrolltowne Elementary School around 8 a.m., walking into her classroom and preparing materials just in time to greet her young students for the day.
But it's not just the wheels that make her a standout among the kids and staff. It's also the fact that it's driven by an 87-year-old who wakes up every day looking forward to spending her time helping youngsters navigate their first year of school.
She's been doing it for 46 years, saying the kindergarteners keep her "young and going strong."
"I love it. I enjoy working with children and especially the young ones," said Knauff. "It’s so wonderful to see their progress when they come to you and show you what they’ve done."
The Carroll County Public School System sets aside Wednesday, Feb. 22, as Instructional Assistants Day. The day is intended to recognize the efforts of the more than 380 instructional assistants and paraprofessionals who help Carroll County students in the classroom each year.
Knauff, a mother of six and grandmother to nine, has been an instructional assistant in Eldersburg every school year since 1966, working at Freedom Elementary School for 10 years before transferring to Carrolltowne Elementary School when it opened its doors in 1976.
When she started working at Freedom, she worked with first-grade classes because the school system did not yet offer kindergarten for Carroll County students.
But when she was asked to switch, she jumped at the opportunity to start teaching the basics of reading and writing to students at a younger age.
"Most of the children back in the early years weren’t ready for school when they started," said Knauff. "It’s amazing to see children going into the first grade already starting to read and write."
Mary Jane Platte, the team Leader for the early childhood classes at Carrolltowne Elementary, said Knauff is an integral part of the Eldersburg school.
"Marguerite is one of the most dedicated, hardworking and caring assistants I have ever worked with in my 30-year career," said Platte. "She has no problem keeping up with the younger assistants. I thought she was wonderful when she was the assistant for my daughter’s class 28 years ago and I still feel she is just as wonderful."
"She is incredibly spry and healthy for her age," said her daughter-in-law, Michelle Knauff.
"I'm sure the exercise she gets working with kids daily helps to keep her healthy and in shape. Literally generations of kids know her. She truly loves her job, and has no plans to retire."
Knauff, herself, says she doesn't like the word.
"I will quit only when the good Lord gives me a reason to," said Knauff.
"I thank the good Lord I am in good health and do not feel any different than I did years ago. I’m fortunate to get a good evaluation every year and I’ll keep going until it’s just no longer possible."