Hamm retiring after 44 years at RHS
When Russellville High School principal James Whitfield hired Marjorie Hamm as the school's librarian in 1965 he asked one thing of her – don't stay a year then quit.
If nothing else, she kept her word.
Hamm will be leaving RHS on May 29 after 44 years as the school's librarian.
"I still love it as much now as I did when I first started," said Hamm, who has made the drive from her Cherokee home in Colbert County each day for four-and-a-half decades.
The drive, she estimates, has totaled about 658,000 miles over that time span.
"I have always thought myself to be ambitious," she said with a laugh. "It is only about 239,000 miles to the moon."
She arrived at Russellville in the fall of 1965 shortly after graduating from the University of North Alabama.
"I was worried to death because I had graduated and didn't have a job," she said. "I had a friend on the school board in Colbert County who was trying to help me there. Then I got a call to come interview with Mr. Whitfield.
"After I signed the contract at RHS I got a call that I had been approved to be hired in Colbert County. I never even interviewed there. I asked my friend what I should do and she said 'our loss is their gain.'
"I have been at Russellville ever since."
There have been times when she thought about working closer to her home, but Russellville is where she thought God called her to be.
"He led me here and now He is leading me into a new area of life," said Hamm, who plans to work more with her church and to travel more.
"I have been on a schedule since age five, so I don't really know what I will do. It's hard to go from being driven by bells from the time you are five years old to a time when there's no bells at all."
In a school system that prides itself in consistency, Hamm has worked for seven principals and four superintendents during her 44 years in the system. She estimates that more than 7,000 students have graduated from RHS since she was hired in 1965.
"That's a lot of people who touch your life," she said.
"The thing that I have always liked best about my job is working one-on-one with students and getting to know them. That is what I will miss the most.
"I have worked with some great people, some great Christian administrators. I have been blessed."