Nobody knows dedication like Sharon Bradley, an 85-year-old educator who teaches health science at Naaman Forest High School outside Dallas.
While most people her age are already enjoying their retirement years, Sharon doesn’t see herself taking the same path. Work keeps her alive, and the fact that she hasn’t missed a single day of class in her 26 years of teaching is proof of her unparalleled dedication to her job.
At an event on campus Monday afternoon, school staff and a few members of her family threw a surprise party for Sharon, who just celebrated her 85th birthday.
Being the faithful worker that she was, the birthday celebrant jokingly reprimanded some of her family and friends for taking time off work to attend her party.
Sharon will never get tired of teaching health science to high school students, saying that working keeps her mind young. Even a bad fall that required her to wear a cast couldn’t stop her from showing up to class the next day.
“Coach Brown fussed at me because I broke my arm on Sunday evening and came to work Monday morning,” she said. “But the trainers had to readjust the arm so I could teach my class.”
Whatever the circumstance, Sharon never missed a single work day. Her home was damaged during the October tornado outbreak. A year before that, she and her husband, Jack, were forced to move after a natural gas line explosion in their neighborhood compelled Atmos Energy to shut down gas to thousands. Then, just a few months later, her husband passed away.
But through it all, no matter how she’s feeling, Sharon the devoted health science teacher showed up at work.
“I had done all I could for him okay? And so, I really felt like I had a responsibility to these kids,” Sharon said.
“She’s 18 years older than me,” her brother, Ray Rogers, said. “And I think her longevity is she likes to work.”
“It just shows a level of commitment to what we do here,” said Principal Keith Ellis. “It’s a tough job educating students.”
Sharon knows that she still has a lot to offer, and she’s looking forward to mentoring the next generation of educators.
“I don’t believe in retirement. I really don’t. I get a lot of hassle from my relatives. My sons say it’s time to retire,” she said. “Texas Workforce will bring me to work when they take my driver’s license away. See where there is a will, there is a way.”
Before becoming a teacher, Sharon worked as a paramedic and flight nurse. She working in the emergency room when President John F. Kennedy was rushed at Parkland Hospital after being shot.
From September to June, Sharon has the time of her life but when summer comes, she mopes, saying that it is “boring” and that she’d “rather be in the classroom” where it is “fun”.
“I think the more positive you are the healthier you are, OK, the more fun you have in life,” Sharon said.
We believe so, too! Sharon’s unparalleled dedication is worth all the recognition. She’s clearly enjoyed a fascinating and long career, and we hope that she gets to do what she loves through the years to come.
Watch the clip below from CBS Evening News to see this devoted health science teacher with her family and friends at her surprise birthday party.