JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It was the year "At the Hop" by Danny and The Juniors was the top song. It was also the year that saw the creation of the Hula Hoop, Super Glue and the microchip!
The year was 1958 and the Weiner High School Class decided to use their reunion to surprise their favorite teacher, Mrs. Myrth Hibbard.
Former students gathered at The Vault in Jonesboro on Tuesday.
Hibbard was their first-grade teacher in 1946 and has celebrated her 100th birthday.
When Hibbard walked in the room, she said she was overjoyed to see her former students.
"Oh, it's wonderful," Hibbard said. "I just love every one of them. I just wish more of them could be here."
Cora Etta Miller was one of her students.
She and her fellow classmates were thrilled to pay tribute to Mrs. Hibbard.
"Originally there were 32 of us in the graduating class," Miller said. "Mrs. Myrth, the lady we're honoring turns 100. And there are supposed to be six of us from her first-grade class in 1946. So, we're expecting some more of our original ones here and she doesn't know that we're gonna honor her today."
Hibbard said the class holds a special place in her heart.
"They were just my little family," Hibbard said. "And I still think of them as just different things go through my mind. I live alone so I have a lot of time to think and I'll think I wonder where Johnny is or Mary is and what they're doing. It was just like being a mother. I never was a mother, so."
Miller said having teachers like Hibbard was a special experience.
"The teachers went the extra mile," Miller said. "They knew us and our families. They were like family. They knew us and got attached to us. And they don't forget us. The cutest thing is when I'd get home and I'd have a message from her saying, 'Cora Etta, this is Myrth. I was hoping to get to talk to you.' So, she kept up with her students."
Hibbard said she loved her years as a teacher.
"Well, I enjoyed it enough that I taught for 40 years," she said. "Enjoyed it very much. I had wonderful people and wonderful parents. It was a good career. I didn't make much money, but it was nice."
Hibbard said she tries to keep up with her students to this day.
"I keep up with them," Hibbard said. "I call and I wonder where some of them are sometimes and so I call them."
Miller said she enjoyed getting a surprise phone call from her favorite teacher.
"She is great," Miller said. "She said to me, 'Cora Etta, God didn't choose to give me children, but ya'll's class was my very first first-grade when I started at Weiner. That's why ya'll are special to me.'"
They presented Hibbard with a rose, gifts and a cookie cake.
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