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Philadelphia Catholic teacher retires after 52 years of dedicating life to her students: "She is amazing"

Philadelphia Catholic teacher honored with touching tribute retires after 52 years
Philadelphia Catholic teacher honored with touching tribute retires after 52 years 02:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia teacher who dedicated her life to serving her students is retiring after more than 50 years. Students and staff at St. Helena Incarnation Catholic School honored her for an incredible career on Thursday. 

Celeste Cline was overwhelmed with emotion during the celebration, marking the end of her 52-year teaching career.

Students and staff gathered inside her classroom to honor the work she's done and to let her know how much she will be missed.

"All of her students every day walk past her door, all 260 students, she gives them a hug every morning and they look forward to that," said Nicholas Huck, who is the principal at the school.

🎓✨ Today marks the end of an era at Saint Helena- Incarnation Catholic School as we bid farewell to an extraordinary educator. After 52 years of dedicated service, our beloved pre-K teacher, Celeste Ann Cline, is retiring. 🍎📚 Throughout her tenure, Celeste has been the heart and soul of our school community, shaping the minds and hearts of countless young learners. To Celeste, we extend our deepest gratitude for her unwavering commitment, boundless energy, and infectious passion for teaching. Her legacy will forever live on in the halls of our school and in the hearts of all who have had the privilege of learning from her. As we celebrate her remarkable career and wish her well in this new chapter of life, we know that her impact will continue to resonate for years to come. Thank you, Celeste, for 52 years of excellence, dedication, and inspiration. 🌟✨ #Retirement #EndOfAnEra #ThankYou #PreKTeacher #Grateful 🎉💙🩵

Posted by St. Helena-Incarnation Catholic School on Thursday, June 13, 2024

Kayla Dorlus, who was Cline's student for two years in pre-K, said she remembers her for being a teacher who cared about her students beyond the classroom.

"She is amazing," Dorlus said. "She always spread love, joy and laughter with the children, the teachers, the staff. She was always just there."

Cline said being a teacher was a dream come true.

"It's been a journey of love," she said.

She said her students have always been like family.


"My children that I taught are my life," she said. "They have my heart from the minute they walk in the door and they say hello. I just can't love them enough."

Cline's legacy will live on at the school. St. Helena Incarnation is now creating the Celeste Cline Scholarship Fund to help pre-K students.

Although she is stepping away from the classroom, Cline said the memories she's made will stay with her for the rest of her life. Retiring was an incredibly hard decision, but she said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family

"It's just something that I will keep in my heart forever," Cline said.

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