With tears and laughter, the Davenport Community School District and the community said goodbye Monday night to two longtime school board members.
"For me, it's been a blast. I have truly enjoyed it," said Larry Roberson of his 11 years on the board. "I have truly enjoyed helping families."
Community members joined the board in praising Roberson and Patt Zamora, who lost her bid for re-election in the Sept. 10 election.
Zamora, who served for 16 years, was not at Monday's meeting.
The word most used to describe Zamora by her fellow board members was "forthright."
Board member Bill Sherwood said he "absolutely knew that Patt was here for the kids."
"She's a woman I always relied on for wisdom," he said. "Your never had to guess where she was coming from; she'd tell you right to your face what she thought, and I appreciated that."
Zamora, who dropped out of high school as a teenager and received her GED from an alternative school, had a soft spot in her heart for the Kimberly Center, the district's alternative school.
To thank her for her service on the board, Kimberly Center principal Sheri Womack presented Zamora's empty spot at the board table with a special clock made by the students.
Roberson, who has been on the board since 2001, chose not to run for re-election.
Several of the board members praised Roberson for his passion, especially when it came to preschool programs.
"To have you sitting here advocating for preschool really made me feel good and it is really doing great things in this community," said vice president Ken Krumwiede.
Among members of the audience who praised the work of Roberson and Zamora was Vera Kelly, president of NAACP Chapter 4019.
"Thank you for working so hard on the school board and stepping up to make a difference," she said.
As people spoke, Roberson occasionally wiped his eyes and face or nodded or patted the shoulder of his fellow board members.
Children's Village Principal Kathy Schulte presented Roberson with a framed photo of Children's Village.
Incumbent Rich Clewell, who has been on the board since 2001, and newcomers Jamie Snyder and Maria Dickmann were sworn in to begin four-year terms.
The board re-elected Ralph Johanson as president and Krumwiede as vice president.