NEWBURYPORT — It can be said that Katherine “Kitty” Pearson’s life has, in one form or another, revolved around Newburyport’s Immaculate Conception Church.
Now a significant portion of that life is about to come to an end. After 30 years Pearson, 65, is retiring as a teacher at the Immaculate Conception School.
“I just rolled into it and have enjoyed every single day for 30 years,” Pearson said of her position at the ICS.
Currently a social studies and religion teacher for the fifth through eighth grades, the Newburyport native graduated from the ICS herself in 1962, went to Newburyport High School and then on to Bridgewater State College. She returned to Newburyport soon after and taught history at NHS, but the ICS soon began calling her back.
“My family has been involved for five generations,” Pearson said of the Immaculate Conception community. “As a matter of fact, three of my grandchildren have graduated (ICS). My oldest granddaughter graduated last week and I have three grandsons that are in school here now. My family is here. I’ve taught my girls. I’ve taught my nieces and nephews. I’ve taught my cousins’ children.
“I was in the first, second grade that moved into this building,” continued Pearson. “And I sometimes joke with the kids and tell them that I came with the building. And because it was a rainy day when my husband and I got married, I actually had my wedding pictures taken in the gym here and I wasn’t even teaching here at the time.”
Along the way, Pearson has taught just about everything, starting part-time as an eighth-grade homeroom teacher and substitute, eventually spending 12 years as a fifth-grade teacher. All along, her focus has been the students.
“The kids are wonderful,” Pearson said of her students. “They are very caring and they are very hard-working. It’s a wonderful environment for children to receive their education in. They do get a strong basis in their religion. But (most importantly) our students learn to study. They learn to be students. And if you learn to study, if you learn to be a student, you can do anything.”