RADFORD, Va (WDBJ7) A long-time teacher at Radford High School is retiring at the end of the year, but not before her students could give her a proper sendoff.
Lois Castonguay believed she'd only be in Radford for a few years. 30 years later, she's happy she was wrong.
She said, "I've often times told the kids that for me it's been God, family, and then this job which really isn't a job, it's a lot more than a job, and it's because of those kids."
Students and staff are just as pleased, as she had such a strong effect on the school.
"She's been like a 2nd mother to me, I've been with her for nine years," Concert Choir President Katie Graves said. "I love the whole choir atmosphere, it's my favorite thing, it's what I'm going to miss most about high school when I graduate. I just love her so much."
Castonguay's friend and coworker Kimberly Reese added, "I've shared the most with her of any other teacher in this school over the last 10 years. It's just been so special to me and I'm going to miss her so much!"
To honor the long-time teacher students, both current and old, showed up at her final concert to give her one big surprise.
Students and alumni sang Silent Night, Ms. Castonguay's favorite song, to show how much they appreciate her.
"Mrs. Castonguay is the reason why I got into music," said music teacher and RHS 2010 graduate Liza Sutphin. "She's been a huge part of my life in deciding on what I want to do with mine."
2009 graduate Sara Slone added, "I would not be the person I am without Mrs. Castonguay and I wanted to do something special and awesome for her."
It was a moment that brought her to tears.
And before taking her final bow, Ms. Castonguay had one message for every student she's met.
"That I love all of them, I truly do, and that I want them to just keep being good people," she said.