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Teacher goes back to school — literally; Dukes has first day at Kunkel, a school she attended

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 8/30/17

Just four years after graduating from Middletown Area High School, Janelle Dukes is back.

Only now she’s a first grade teacher at Kunkel Elementary School — the same school that Dukes …

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Teacher goes back to school — literally; Dukes has first day at Kunkel, a school she attended

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Just four years after graduating from Middletown Area High School, Janelle Dukes is back.

Only now she’s a first grade teacher at Kunkel Elementary School — the same school that Dukes attended as a young girl.

“It’s a little different now,” Dukes said while awaiting arrival of her 22 students on the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 28. “I was saying to my mom that when you are little, everything looks so big. Now that I am back here, everything is so much smaller.”

Dukes greeted her students as they arrived one by one. Some of the students were walked in by their parents, who wanted that one last hug before saying goodbye on one of the biggest days of their child’s life.

A 2013 MAHS graduate, Dukes went directly to Bloomsburg University to become a teacher. She got her bachelor’s degree and is certified in elementary education and special education through grade 8.

Her alma mater Middletown hired her on Aug. 8. 

Many of her teachers in Middletown influenced her decision to become a teacher herself.

Three in particular stand out.

High school teacher Adam Shaffer “was a big inspiration. He really helped to lead me in this direction, and was super supportive along the way,” said Dukes. Schaffer is also her brother-in-law.

Sharon A. Boyland, who was Dukes’ second-grade teacher at Kunkel, “helped me to really see that I wanted to be a teacher,” Dukes said. Boyland retired at the end of 2016-17 after teaching for 28 years in Middletown Area School District.

As a senior Dukes spent time in Melissa Kaylor’s classroom at Reid Elementary.

“She helped me to see that I wanted to be a teacher,” Dukes said.

Dukes as a Blue Raider played flute in the marching, concert, and county bands. As a senior in 2013 she was among those in the band selected to perform with the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus, during an appearance of the military musicians in the high school auditorium.

A student athlete, Dukes was a member of the field hockey and softball teams. She was also president of the Key Club.

Dukes was a Middletown Area High School Student of the Month in January 2013.

Returning to teach at Kunkel is “to give back to the community that got me here today,” Dukes said.

“I love being back here. It brought back so many memories, and it’s good now to be able to make new memories. I’m a little nervous, but I’m excited.”