(HELENA) Community members in Helena came together Saturday morning to honor a longtime educator and school volunteer.
The Helena Education Foundation surprised Ethel Dickman with a special ceremony at Touchmark Retirement Community. She was greeted by friends, family members, colleagues and former students from her nearly 50 years working in Helena schools.
“I had no idea something like this would ever happen to me,” Dickman said.
Dickman began her career teaching at schools in White Sulphur Springs and Harlowton. She then spent about 25 years as a teacher for Helena Public Schools. After retiring, she spent another two decades as a regular volunteer.
Tracie Shepherd, now a librarian at Smith Elementary School, was one of Dickman’s ninth-grade English students.
“Who knew that English could be so much fun?” she said. “But make no mistake, Mrs. Dickman did not give grades – you earned those grades.”
The two became friends years later when Dickman began volunteering at the Helena High library, where Shepherd was a secretary. Over the years, they continued to work together at Jim Darcy and Smith Schools.
“She is truly remarkable,” Shepherd said. “She’s very dedicated with whatever she takes on in her life; she will see it through to the end, whether it was correcting papers or writing a report or reading for somebody. She’s truly someone to look up to and emulate.”
Lisa Cordingley, executive director of the Helena Education Foundation, thanked Dickman for all she has done over her long career.
“We are here to tell you that you are distinguished to all of us, and you made a difference in this community,” she said.
Dickman said she keeps volunteering because she enjoys working with young people and staying involved in the community. She said she was grateful for the recognition.
“I’d like to thank everyone for this honor, and I’m so happy to see the different generations that I have taught in Helena,” she said. “This is a day I’ll never forget.”