retired schoolteacher

Continuity in midst of transition at St. Norbert

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Generally, teachers pass on all kinds of knowledge to their students. Less often, however, do they pass on their careers.

But as Mary Jo Kohlberg retires from 26 years of teaching first grade at St. Norbert School in Florissant, she is doing just that. Maggie Sextro, whom Kohlberg taught in 1997-98, will be assuming her former teacher's post as St. Norbert merges into All Saints Academy next year.

Vietnamese family’s outreach stuns retired schoolteacher

Mary Jane Matejka, left, and fellow teacher Linda Harrison traveled to Dallas to be with Matejka’s former student, Minh Thu Pham, and groom Johnny Vong Tran at their wedding.

Mary Jane Matejka knew she'd made an impact on her students, but this was way beyond her imagination.

Health issues forced Matejka to retire in 2009 after teaching in the archdiocese for 25 years, a career she enjoyed very much.

About 20 years ago, while teaching at St. Pius V School in south St. Louis, she had a student in her second-grade class, Minh Thu Pham, one of many who were from Vietnamese immigrant or refugee families.

Matejka remembers Pham as quiet, athletic and good at math and art. However, the "sweet girl" as Matejka called her, struggled with English.

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