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Alumni Hall of Fame
Service to St. Marys City Schools (2008)

Ronda L. Shelby

Ronda L. Shelby came to the St. Marys City Schools in 1965 and for nearly forty years served as an English and Reading Teacher at McBroom Junior High School. She distinguished herself as an energetic, passionate, dedicated, student oriented, and challenging educator in the St. Marys City Schools. She touched the lives of thousands of students and gained, in return, their respect and admiration

Mrs. Shelby spent her career making sure her students understood the English language inside and outside and challenged her students to become reading lovers. When her students left her classroom, they were better equipped with some of life’s most important skills. They were effective communicators in both the oral and written forms and were able to read and comprehend the various forms of the written word. She was able to enhance these skills through lengthy studies of poetry and a lengthy study of important figures in the African American community. These studies were notably known as the poetry unit and the black unit. For many years, outside of the classroom, Mrs. Shelby assisted, advised, and coached students in speaking and writing competitions and witnessed her students compete in and win the various competitions numerous times. The most notable of these competitions were the God, Flag, and Country Speech Contest, the Power of the Pen Writing Contest, and the Women Making History Essay Contest. In honor of Shelby’s work at McBroom Junior High School, each year the Ronda Shelby Writing Award is presented to eighth grade students. In the greater community, Shelby has spent many years tutoring our Japanese friends in the English language.

Ronda Shelby was not only successful as a classroom teacher but also found success in the coaching arena. Coach Shelby was instrumental in starting the girls’ tennis and softball programs at Memorial High School and served as the first head coach of each program. Prior to girls’ tennis being a recognized sport in the Western Buckeye League, Shelby’s teams posted three undefeated seasons and she guided a pair of players to the state tennis tournament. In softball, she coached the 1984 Western Buckeye League Championship team. Throughout her tenure as softball coach, Shelby’s teams won five district championships, one regional championship, and made a state semi-final appearance.

Shelby has also been a vibrant member of the greater St. Marys community and has been involved in numerous community groups and organizations. She has been active in her Christian faith. As a cancer survivor, she has joined fellow cancer patients and survivors in the continued fight and struggle against cancer. In the political arena, she served on the various committees that successfully campaigned for construction of the Auglaize County Jail, expansion of the St. Marys Community Public Library, and construction of new facilities in the St. Marys City Schools. At the community pool, she coached the swim team and established the Pohlman Swimming Award, the Shelby – Davis Swimming Award, and the Shelby Diving Award. Mrs. Shelby is also known as the “Outhouse Lady” and has shared her knowledge of outhouse history with many community groups and organizations. This is just a sampling of her civic activity. In recognition of her successful career in the teaching profession and service to the greater community, Ronda Shelby has received numerous awards and recognitions that include being named the 1985 Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year, Amerihost Teacher of the Year, Lima News Newspaper in Education Teacher of the Year, a Jennings Scholar, and a 2002 recipient of the St. Marys Chamber of Commerce Bridge Builder Award.

Teachers are star polishers and their students are the stars. The star polisher has the awesome job of taking the stars, in whatever shape they come in, to shine them, to buff them, until the star is ready to take its place in the world. In the end, the star polisher simply hopes their work has allowed the star to be a bright, twinkling beacon in the sky, succeeding in its own right and making the world a better place. It is for this distinguished service to the St. Marys City Schools and the greater community that Mrs. Shelby serves as a positive example to current and future teachers of what it means to be a star polisher.

The above text, in its entirety, is embossed on a St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Hall of Fame plaque permanently on display in Memorial High School.

Copyright St. Marys MHS Alumni Foundation