Retirement is just not in the picture for local educator Sandra Applegate. Applegate taught mathematics in the Mehlville School District for 33 years. A favorite teacher of many students, her creative, engaging lessons, clever jingles and poems helped her students remember tricky mathematical concepts. As a math team coach, she led her students to many victories over the years.
Most of her career was spent teaching at Margaret Buerkle Middle School where she always tried to make math fun. In 1990, she was the Mehlville School District’s Teacher of the Year. Always active on school committees, Applegate worked on curriculum projects, tax levies, strategic planning and anywhere else she could be of service to her school and community.
Applegate is no longer in her own classroom, but she certainly has not slowed down. Very active in Mehlville Retired Educators (MRE), the Missouri Retired Teachers Association (MRTA) and the Mehlville-Oakville Foundation, Applegate organizes fundraisers and takes on new projects to help the school district and the community. When she is not doing work in these capacities, she takes time to substitute at Bernard Middle School and to help two O.A.S.I.S. students at Wohlwend Elementary School. Both give her a chance to use her well-honed skills as an educator.
Applegate is already hard at work helping with the Mehlville-Oakville Foundation’s Walk-Run that is an annual October event in Jefferson Barracks Park.
“The Walk-Run and the merchant discount cards that we sell are the main fundraisers of the foundation. The money raised goes right back into the district schools for such projects as the mini-grants to classroom teachers,” Applegate said.
A few years ago, when budget cuts were about to put an end to the Academic Olympics in the district, Sandra Applegate approached the then superintendent of the Mehlville School District, Dr. Terry Noble, and asked if the Mehlville Retired Educators could run the event. According to Applegate, his reply was, “Go for it.”
Applegate went to work organizing the popular event. She even managed to compose the math questions for grades 4 through 8, carefully coordinating them with the math curriculum for each grade. In addition, she gathers questions for the scholar quiz event.
“The Academic Olympics is still being held each year in the district, having been saved by the fast thinking and hard work of the retired educators,” Applegate said.
Lest you begin to think that Sandra Applegate spends all of her time doing schoolwork, think again. An avid Blues fan she attends all of the home games and heartily cheers on her favorite team. Applegate holds season tickets to both the Broadway season at the Fox Theatre and the Municipal Opera in Forest Park. She especially enjoys international travel. Applegate has toured Germany, France, The Netherlands, Austria and Russia, on teacher-focused trips that include visiting local schools and meeting the students.
On her trip to Russia, her group brought small gifts to the local students. Applegate said, “Most brought pencils and pens, but I took stickers and they loved them!”
When asked for advice on retirement, Applegate replied, “Stay involved, keep in touch with friends, and always learn something new every day.”