By Ed Simmons, Jr.
She calls it her "Re-Wirement."
But whatever Nancy Elliott creatively chooses to call it, it's now certain that Caroline High's popular 11th-grade English and drama teacher will no longer walk into school each morning softly praying "Help me! Help me! Help me!" as she has for 36 long, long years. Exactly how her wires will rearrange, she's not quite sure yet. But she knows she wants to spend more time with her husband Carroll and travel to visit her 98-year-old mother in Arkansas and her children in California.
She also may substitute in the lower grades, all the better to relate to her grandson Ryan and his not-quite-born-yet little brother who may be called Jacob, Tyler or Aaron. She's voted for Aaron.
"Mizz" Elliott got her start in theatrics in high school productions in her hometown of Smithville, population 89, in northeast Arkansas, then at Ouachita Baptist University where she studied English and drama. After four years teaching in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and taking five years off to raise her children Kelly, Ian and Shannon, she arrived in Caroline and became an English teacher at Caroline Middle School in 1978. Nineteen years later she moved to the high school, and became The Drama Teacher in 2000.
"Without fine arts school would be really boring," she said on her last day after her students had vacated. "Fine arts give kids a way to express themselves in ways they can't in other classes." Collaborating with teachers Ray Carver, Amber French and Courtney Woodward, drama classes at Caroline High boomed and this year she taught four sections, which left her with one class of her dearly loved American Literature. "I've learned to relax," she said, "and not take myself too seriously. I've learned over the years to be more patient and how not to get upset easily."
So it's doubtful then that Nancy Elliott will short-circuit this summer as she reconnects her wires. But given her love for the stage, there will surely be bolts and flurries of sparks.