When one decides to retire, that usually means he’s looking forward to years of relaxation and, perhaps, some traveling. Not Marita Watson. Marita retired to start her second family. She met a man in her Sunday school class at First United Methodist Church, who encouraged the adoption process.

Elizabeth Davis moved from Pell City to Jacksonville in 2004.  By the time she’d been at Jacksonville State University three years, she’d met and later married JSU alum Matt Snapp. They’ll be married eight years in May.

Hannah Davis has completed her student teaching and, since December, has been the proud owner of a diploma from Jacksonville State University. That diploma says that she has a degree in early childhood and elementary education.

Both of the jobs Dodie Hill have held will have an important place in her heart long after she retires. Not that retirement is coming anytime soon. She’s enjoying what she does to even consider it.

Carmen Diaz is a native of Puerto Rico, and she was three years old when her father joined the U.S. military in 1972. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. The family, which included a brother and a sister, traveled the world wherever her father was stationed. The U.S. Army brought the family to Fort McClellan in 1985. 

Kim Snider’s daughter, Anna, was a senior at White Plains High School, when Kim found herself without a job. She’d always worked. Even before she married her husband, Eric, 23 years ago.

Beth Rhodes was a member of the VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) at Piedmont High School in 1980. This gave her the opportunity to work at the First National Bank of Piedmont owned by Lewis Savage while also working toward her high diploma.

Christy Wilkins is probably the happiest she’s ever been, because she’s the mother of three girls. Annabell is 7, Baylee is 6 and Shelby is 5. They attend school in DeArmanville. After the arrival of Annabell, Christy realized the importance of being available for her daughters, but also realized she needed a job to add to her family’s income.

When Kyle Justice of Piedmont was 12, he picked up the guitar and never put it down. Shortly after that, he began taking lessons at Baker Music in Gadsden. After two years, the  lessons ended when his instructor told him that he couldn’t teach him anything else.

Paula Patterson has always liked helping others. That’s why she decided to be a speech pathologist. She knows she’s helping children who have trouble speaking properly, and she feels successful when she sees positive results.

The former Earlene Alley has been married 50 years to a man who has spent 45 of those years in a pulpit. Always a spiritual person, even when they were dating in their early teens, she never dreamed Jerry Starling would one day decide to dedicate his preparing others for their eternal lives.

Kerry Hyatt Turner has never ventured from her roots in the Rabbittown community. She was born and reared there and spent a lot of her time at Hyatt’s Grocery Store, which was owned by her parents, the late Allen and Alice (Thomas) Hyatt.

Former White Plains resident Mindi Wilkins-Amberson is the state’s elementary school counselor of the year. She was chosen by the Alabama School Counselor Association. Mindi is humbled and happy for the honor, but the mother of four hasn’t had much time to think about it.

Brenda Cagle Petersen intends to live in Jacksonville the rest of her life, but she’ll always be able to say that at one time she lived in Ninety-Six, S. C. That was one of the towns that her husband, Mark, Jacksonville’s superintendent of education, moved them to during his career.

Paige Webb realizes she’s still young at 22, but she has aspirations and dreams she hopes to attain in the next few years. She doesn’t mind working hard to make them happen.

Bobbie Wilson Parris grew up on Pennsylvania Avenue in Jacksonville. She lost her parents, Howard and Demmeres (Dotson) Wilson, at a young age and moved to Warner Robbins, Ga., to live with relatives to finish high school.

Loretta Montgomery Moore grew up in Lincoln, where she was the second oldest of five children. She was aware at a young age that she was a quick learner. She would frequently gather her sisters, youngest brother and a few of her cousins in a make believe classroom and “teach” them.

Tiffany Duck Beal of Piedmont didn’t know it when she had her first art class in high school in Rome, Ga., but it was a hobby that would provide tranquility for her and lend assistance to organizations that help those who are suffering with cancer and their families.

Renee Taylor has always considered Jacksonville to be her home town. She was born in Calhoun County, then lived in Scottsboro, Oxford, and California, but she eventually came home. In short order, she graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1987, married and had three children. In 2000, she and her children moved back to Jacksonville, where she earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice at Jacksonville State University in 2002. During that time, she also worked for her parent’s business, Warren Ace Hardware.

Several years ago, Lisa West was asked to help with the Blue Knights band program at Piedmont High School. She had a daughter in the band and agreed to help. She had no idea what it would lead to.

She’s now president of the Band Boosters.

Tanya Harden Satcher received a bachelor’s in social work and master’s in counseling from Jacksonville State University. She worked for the Calhoun County Mental Health and Family Service Center and later opened her private counseling service.

Tonia Bodiford admits she’s in her element when working with children.

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching.” Tonia said. “When I was young I taught Sunday School classes and swim lessons as a teenager.”