NEWTON, NJ - Saying she is blessed with "too many memories to count," Newton High School English teacher Helen Heckman is retiring after 24 years as an educator.

Heckman spent 15 of those years teaching Newton students. “I’ve chosen to retire to spend more time with my husband, family - which includes 16 grandchildren - and friends,” she said. “I know I’ll treasure too many memories to count of my special, special students.”

Newton High School Principal Jeff Waldron acknowledged Heckman during the Class of 2016’s graduation ceremony. He said Heckman was unable to attend the ceremony because she was unsure if she would make it through without becoming overwhelmingly emotional.

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“I can say all the trite things," said Heckman. "I’m happy, yet I’m sad. I’m excited, yet scared.”

The Newton Board of Education send Heckman a special gift to acknowledge her service to the community and to let her know how much she will be missed.