GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- It’s no secret that educators do a lot for their students.
They buy supplies, are often a shoulder to lean on, or play chef when many of their students aren't able to eat at home.
As summer break nears, some students are saying goodbye to a teacher for the final time.
Journalism and English teacher Sutton Casey is retiring after 31 years in District 51.
"I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Sutton Casey.
She's one of Grand Junction High School’s longest running teachers.
"Best part of this job is being able to work with kids and see that moment when the lightbulb goes on and they're like 'oh I get that' or 'oh I’m inspired by that,'” said Casey.
Starting at Central High as a drama teacher, then moving to Fruita Monument, before settling in at Grand Junction for last 24 years.
"I think I just always wanted to be a teacher, my parents told me that when I was a little kid, I would play teacher with my dolls and I have five brothers and sisters so I made them into my students,” said Casey.
She’s one of their longest-running staff members, inspiring students for decades.
"She's just a very spontaneous, fun person, so every day is a new adventure with her,” said Luke Aubert, 11th grader, GJHS.
Seeing all the fads, crazes and changes in technology.
"When I first started teaching you had to do your grade book in a paper grade book, so no one really knew about their grade until the last part of the semester, even the last couple of days,” said Casey.
Supporting better pay for teachers.
"We want the best for kids and we give so much and investing in our pay, or investing in education is an investment in your child,” said Casey.
As her teaching days are drawing to a close, her legacy will forever be remembered for these students in her journalism class.
"I’m going to feel kind of lost in my personal opinion because I come to miss Casey for everything,” said Jaden Hall, 11th grader, GJHS.
"She's known as the teacher mom, because of her personal connections with everyone and how much she cares and how much she does for everything inside and outside the classroom,” said Aubert.
Sutton Casey says she isn’t done with teaching just yet, she is moving to Alaska to teach English at a boarding school.