2017-07-13 / News

Retired Burns School teacher sends love to graduates

By Sarah Beth Campisi
Contributing Writer


Catie Favreau’s third grade writing and class picture. Christine Littlefield, veteran teacher of 25 years, sends her graduating, former students letters of congratulations, and examples of their primary writing. (Courtesy photo) Catie Favreau’s third grade writing and class picture. Christine Littlefield, veteran teacher of 25 years, sends her graduating, former students letters of congratulations, and examples of their primary writing. (Courtesy photo) SACO — High school graduation symbolizes an ending as well as a beginning. In the chaos of finals, graduation parties and fielding questions about post-graduation plans, there is a stack of congratulatory letters.

Cards from relatives applauding a job well done and for some former C.K. Burns School students, a surprise from a teacher that never stopped giving.

Eighteen-year-old Thornton Academy graduate, Catie Favreau, was one of these students in the class of 2017. Every year, former C.K. Burns School teacher, Christine Littlefield, sends letters of congratulations to her past students. As an added surprise, she includes a piece of the students’ primary writing, dating back to either the third or fourth grade.

Favreau was a student in Littlefield’s class in the 2007-2008 school year.

In the writing she received, she described her love for animals, dance and running.

Her love for animals and athletics still continues, and she remains involved in dance, as she prepares to perform in a “The Best of Broadway,” an annual show put on by The Dance Company in Saco.

At the time, Favreau hoped to be a veterinarian, but now will study speech pathology at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham this fall.

“It’s funny how much she has changed since this letter was written nine years ago. It was super touching to me that Mrs. Littlefield went above and beyond to take the time to find graduating seniors and send them a special wish on such a pivotal day,” Favreau’s mother, Lara Favreau said.

“It was also a reminder that so many wonderful people were involved in shaping my daughter into the fine young woman that she has become.”

“I can’t believe she remembered me. I can’t believe how messy my handwriting was and that I actually liked to run,” Catie Favreau said. “I can only imagine the amount of time and effort it takes to carry on this tradition from year to year. It must be difficult to find everyone. This shows her true dedication to the profession.”

Littlefield has taught for 25 years. She began teaching in Augusta, before moving to southern Maine to teach at Fairfield School and finally landed in a Burns School third-grade classroom.

After retiring 10 years ago, Littlefield has spent her time with friends and family, and traveling.

This tradition goes back until before Littlefield was a teacher at Burns, to her former colleagues Rachel Heffernan and Pat Deletetsky. Littlefield and Deletetsky taught a third and fourth grade multiage classroom together.

Littlefield carried on the tradition after their retirements.

“We would have the kids write letters to themselves in the first person, about who their best friends were and what they wanted to be when they grew up, what they liked to do. I kept them in a file for years, so I would have them later,” Littlefield said. “Kids are so hopeful at that age, they want to be rock stars and professional basketball players.”

As well as enjoying reading the students’ elementary school letters before sending them, Littlefield has loved the responses she receives.

“It’s been fun getting the feedback. They send back senior photos and thank you notes. It’s been eye opening,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield’s former students who attended Old Orchard Beach High School and Biddeford High School also receive letters. The class of 2017, however, was Littlefield’s last class of students.

“It was bittersweet,” Littlefield said. “Follow your dreams, it’s kind of a cliché, but you can do it.”

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