BC community mourns the loss of music teacher Mary Jane Hughes
December 29, 2011
The district is mourning the loss of music teacher Mary Jane Hughes after a courageous battle over the past year with an illness that took her away from the school and students she loved.
Mrs. Hughes had the ability to inspire students and colleagues, said Music Director David Norman.
“Mary Jane Hughes’ work with thousands of students developed Bethlehem’s string program into one of the finest in the Capital District,” said Music Director David Norman. “Her passion for music and teaching is an inspiration to her colleagues. She leaves to us a legacy of excellence, enthusiasm and tireless dedication.”
Mr. Norman, along with retired Superintendent Michael Tebbano, visited Mrs. Hughes just a week before her passing and presented her with a plaque honoring her years of dedication to the students of BCSD.
“I had a very moving experience visiting with Mary Jane Hughes,” Dr. Tebbano said at a recent Board of Education meeting. “She was a beloved teacher in this district and she affected the lives of many, many children for a long time. We miss her very much.”
Mrs. Hughes joined the Bethlehem Central School District in 1982, and was a string instrumental teacher for nearly three decades before taking medical leave in 2010. She retired from the district in 2011.
Mrs. Hughes so touched the lives of her students that when she and principal Dorothy McDonald were on extended medical leaves in 2010, two pairs of siblings, Nora and Colden Abbott and Grace and Mary Devane decided to sell flowers and gourds to raise money for the American Cancer Society in their names.
Crisis counseling will be available for students as needed.
One of Mrs. Hughes’ wishes, upon her passing, was that some of her students play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” before her funeral mass. See the video below for this celebration of Mrs. Hughes' life.