Downer Retiring With 25 Years of Service to CJ

For 25 years, Ellen Downer has been an integral member of the CJ social studies department. She has not only served as a teacher of the subject, but has been the department's chair since 2000. However, at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, Downer will begin the next chapter of her life with retirement.

"Without question I will miss the daily interaction with the students and faculty," Downer said.

Her children, Martha '86 and John '89, attended CJ before Downer started teaching at the school.

"I was aware that CJ was a fine school," Downer noted. "When I was ready to return to teaching, I sent a letter to academic director Bro. John Habjan inquiring about the possibility of a teaching position. I interviewed and was offered a part time position. I was offered a full time position the next year and accepted it."

One change Downer has noticed over her years of teaching is the student body size.

"A smaller student body makes it easier for teachers to connect with their students," Downer reflected. "Students also want to take a more active role in their learning and there is much more cooperative learning.

"We now have tennis courts and a stadium," Downer continued. "I still find it hard to believe that our campus has these wonderful additions."

She added, "Excuse the metaphor but the first day of school has always been like opening day to me. All the uniforms are clean and every student has a perfect record! I looked forward to that day to give me energy and I will miss that and many other things about CJ. You have all made this a tough place to leave. But as a concerned member of the CJ community, I will continue to celebrate your victories and wish you all the best as you face educational challenges in the future."

Friends and former students shared their well wishes for Downer on the CJ Facebook and CJ Alumni Facebook pages. Here are just some of their comments:

  • Megan Michelle Lunne: Congratulations, Mrs. Downer! I know CJ will miss you! I loved having you as my teacher while at CJ! I'm sure we will catch up at a ballgame next season!!! Happy retirement!
  • Ann Shock: You have touched so many young lives...enjoy your retirement!
  • Joseph Meyer: Congratulations and thank you for your years of service!
  • Lauralee Marie: Congratulations and thank you for your dedication!
  • Janet Trentman Dorman: Congrats Ellen. Enjoy all your grandkids!
  • Jane Gorman: Congratulations Ellen! Enjoy this next phase of life.

Posted April 12, 2017