LUBBOCK, Texas — For many students, this weekend is about graduating and wrapping up 12 years of school. However, Alice Chavez is retiring after 50 years of working in education. She started teaching in 1971 and spent the first-decade teaching. She then moved up to a counselor position at Lubbock High School and was there for 42 years.

When asked why and what kept her coming back all these years, she said it was teaching kids to help themselves.

“I feel that we had to have an advocate for somebody and not there and that was my job description,” Chavez said. “So, I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure that they finished, whether you know their home life is not what they expected or whatever is going on in their lives.”

Chavez’s son, Marc, said there were many times they were spotted out in public, and how former students always made an effort to thank his mom for the impact they’ve had on their life.

“The time that she’s been a counselor, random places, restaurants out of the football game or back at the mall, whatever we were doing, I would have people come up and say Hey, Mrs. Chavez, give her a big old hug and they would share their stories with me and just explain, If it weren’t for your mother, I wouldn’t have graduated from high school, If it weren’t for your mother, I wouldn’t have even considered going to college,” Marc said.

One of those students called Marc recently, after looking back on how much of an impact Mrs. Chavez had on his life. Rolando Rodriguez said he always looked forward to seeing Mrs. Chavez and described how her efforts to help students made him believe in himself to continue his education after high school.

“52 years in education, it’s just a blessing, and she’s been a blessing to me and she’s been a blessing to others so I can’t thank her enough for her service and how she inspired me to move on into my education,” Rodriguez said. “I’m just grateful for her guidance and her energy, for her smile, and her passion.”

Chavez said as she looks back on her career, she feels like she has accomplished her goal and left her mark like she always planned to do.

“I’m a little sad to say goodbye because it kept me young it’s kept me vibrant and I appreciate all the nice comments I get about past kids and I encourage them and how they are doing and things to me and it just makes me feel good that I feel like I did touch some lives, and that’s what it’s all about,” Chavez said.

Chavez said she is most excited to spend her retirement with her family and her grandkids.