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70th Reunion
Tuesday, 6/11/2024

12:00 pm until 4:00 pm
Tavistock Country Club
Friends, children, spouses invited to help us celebrate our last reunion
Send $35 to Mark Sibley, 134 Cider Press Drive, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 by June 1.
Edit Alumni Society Trustee Meetings
Third Tuesday of every month September through May/June, except December. Contact us for the location.

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2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Joyce Gilchrist Pierce

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Mrs. Joyce Pierce taught in the Haddonfield schools beginning in 1968 and until her retirement in 2003. Previously, she taught for nine years in both Camden and New Brunswick. Mrs. Pierce was one of the first African-American educators hired by the Haddonfield Schools and for almost all of her tenure the only African-American educator in the system. For many people in the town, she was the first African-American with whom they interacted outside of the service industry. Mrs. Pierce carried (and continues to carry) herself with integrity and professionalism. Until today, Mrs. Pierce’s exemplary and historic role as a teacher in the Haddonfield Public Schools has never been formally acknowledged either during or after her tenure.

She made an indelible mark on the lives of her students academically, socially and emotionally.  Covell Adams ’96 shared this experience.   “I was new to Haddonfield in 6th grade, and often felt out of place and lonely – especially those first few months. Mrs. Pierce, through her intrinsically empathetic nature, seemed to sense my unease, and without making it obvious to me (or my peers) became a mentor to me as I tried to navigate the complicated social circles of middle school. In the classroom, she approached each lesson with a palatable energy, and along the way sparked a passion in me for history which ended up being my major in college. Even once I left her classroom, she remained a guiding force in my life, and the opportunity to know her and to learn from her is one of the greatest gifts I was given by Haddonfield.”

Similarly, Jerry Macnamara ’93 remembered, “Three things I loved about Mrs. Pierce.  First, her laugh could electrify a hallway...there was no better measure to describe her room than a place of warmth and love. Everyone could feel it.  Second, almost every morning I had the chance to tutor her son, Earl, during homeroom. It gave me a unique glimpse into an amazing family.  Third, in the hardest part of my life, when the raging hormones of puberty collided with the uncertainty of family dysfunction, Mrs. Pierce was a steadying hand of daily love and enthusiasm. I showed up to homeroom every day and there was no pretense and no drama. It was an easy place to reside, a safe haven. There was simply a love that guided me forward. I will be forever grateful for that love.”

Mrs. Joyce Gilchrist Pierce taught across grade levels and content throughout her career.  She found her passion teaching Language Arts and World Civilizations at the middle school.   Students who had Mrs. Pierce as a teacher affectionately remember in-depth conversations about Mesopotamia, Greek, and Roman mythology, a shared love of travel, and days-long trips to Mt. Misery and Camp Ockanickon to learn and practice orienteering. Mrs. Pierce continues her love of educating by sharing her experiences with her granddaughter who began school at J. Fithian Tatem Elementary School this September. 

Beyond the classroom, Mrs. Pierce was also active in her community modeling civic responsibility to her students. She served as councilwoman, council-president, and later appointed Acting-Mayor of Lawnside, NJ (making her the first female Mayor of Lawnside, NJ). While teaching, Mrs. Pierce started the first Lion’s Club in Lawnside and helped to charter the South Jersey Chapter of the Continental Society. Her dedication to community and education was honored by the Lawnside Borough Council and, recently, by the Burlington-Camden Alumni Chapter of the Alpha Psi Fraternity at their 13th Annual banquet Honoring African-American Women of High Achievement. 

While teaching, Joyce battled and successfully overcame ovarian cancer. This fight was accomplished while she taught daily, rarely missing a single day of work. Her goal was to always ensure that her students received the consistent high-quality education that the Haddonfield schools strive to provide. Mrs. Pierce continues to recount fond memories of her many years spent engaging with and enlightening students in that classroom, during which she ended up teaching children of former students and witnessing the expansion of families in Haddonfield. Some of her former students later became colleagues!  Today her passion for education continues in the lessons and experiences she shares with her granddaughter, who began school at Tatem Elementary this fall.

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