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Ripon Highs Williams retires after 32 years
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Veteran Ripon Unified School district educator Elaine Williams was surprised with a bouquet of carnations and hundreds of balloons in her office. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON - More than 100 balloons, large banners and a bouquet of red carnations filled Elaine Williams’s office at Ripon High School when she returned from lunch earlier this week marking her retirement after 32 years of service.

High school students went into action when the veteran staffer left on her lunch break.  They put up massive signs on the walls above and behind her desk and brought in an impressive “bunch” of balloons totaling more than 100 in all.

Williams, presently serving as secretary to the vice principal, was visibly overcome in her reaction to the caring of the Associated Student Body students.

Elaine began her tenure with the district at Ripon Elementary School where she was assigned a single room at the school to meet as one-on-one to tutoring aide for students needing extra help, later being transferred to Ripona School on a full time basis  working with special needs children.

She went on to become the high school librarian where she worked to upgrade the facility and to help to create more of a state of the art resource facility.  More than $60,000 was spent on the library upgrades, she said.  She has served as the administrative assistant to the high school vice principal for the last seven years.

Williams has long been known to underwrite seniors with spending money on the graduation trip to Disneyland – money they didn’t otherwise have for their fun trip. She and her husband Wilfred would often play Santa over the years at Christmastime for young elementary school students who otherwise would have gone without.

“The memories I have of this district are wonderful,” she said. Williams said she is going to take a year to become accustomed to retirement, but she will definitely be getting involved in the needs of the community, she added.