After twenty-two years of empowering young minds, Kimberton resident Jane Dukovic has retired from her teaching position at St. Basil the Great Catholic School.
Dukovic, who has taught math and science at six different schools throughout her teaching career, was honored at a special retirement ceremony at St. Basil’s in Kimberton on Friday June 14, a date which was also her 88th birthday.
“It just happened that way – it was not planned,” Dukovic said of her joint birthday-retirement party. “I knew about (the party) but I had no idea that it was going to be so elaborate.”
Dukovic was joined by approximately 50 of her family members, friends, fellow teachers and students at the party. She was treated to lunch and a cake, and also received a one-of-a-kind throw blanket embroidered with a special ‘thank you’ from St. Basil’s.
“There was all kinds of food and it was very good food. I love vegetables and fruit,” Dukovic said.
In addition to honoring her with a special party, the church also dedicated a mass to Dukovic. At that mass, many of her former students came forward to talk about how she has been as a positive influence on their lives. She was also presented her with copies of their speeches as keepsakes.
“It was overwhelming to see so many of my former students. It was just lovely to receive congratulations from everyone who was there.”
While at St. Basil’s, Dukovic taught mathematics enrichment classes on two grade levels: Pre-Algebra for 7th grade students and Algebra for 8th grade students.
“The kids at St. Basil’s are so nice, as are the teachers and the (administration). It is such a happy place and is a wonderful place to work. Everyone enjoys it and people are so polite, we hardly ever lose a teacher! It was a wonderful 22 years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Dukovic said that she found it difficult to step down because of the relationships she built with the students.
“I loved the kids so much that it was really hard to leave. I would fall in love with my seventh graders as they came in, and then I would have them again for eighth grade, and then I would fall in love with the new seventh graders all over again.”
In addition to her time at St. Basil’s, Dukovic also taught Pre-Algebra and Science at the Phoenixville Middle School for over 15 years before retiring at the age of 65. She also served as a tutor in Phoenixville.
Dukovic first came to the area in 1954 from Baltimore, and then started her family, which includes her four children and several grandchildren.
“When my husband and I were married we wanted four children – two boys and two girls, in that order– and that’s what we got.”
Now that she has reached retirement, she looks forward to spending more time with those grandchildren. She also intends to keep busy by staying heavily involved with her service club activities. Among those clubs is the Pilot Club of Valley Forge, which focuses on supporting individuals with cognitive challenges.
“We do so many things at the Pilot Club,” she explained. “The main thing we do is to go out to Kindergartens in the county and use puppets to teach a program called Brain Matters that teaches lessons in subjects like playground safety.”
Additionally, she has been a member of the Women’s Club of Phoenixville for over 50 years, and also belongs to The Fellowship of St. Basil’s, a group which formed five years ago as a social club that does fundraising for the church.
When asked if she had any sage advice for teachers, she offered the follow humble response:
“They do not need advice from me, they know as much as I do.”
After further reflection, she did share a couple of pointers for those considering becoming teachers.
“I would recommend that anyone who likes children go into teaching. It is wonderful to be able to be with children. Algebra is a good thing to teach because it is so very different – it is like another language.”