KEEGO HARBOR (WWJ) –  A  woman honored at a Keego Harbor school for her dedication to students isn’t a teacher or administrator.

Catherine Lapine, who’s been helping kids learn to read as volunteer in the West Bloomfield district for 13 years, this week celebrated her 90th birthday with a surprise party thrown for her at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Lapine told WWJ’s Ron Dewey that she uses her own passion for literature to push the kids to read as many books as they can.

“Those children, I just love them all,” she said. “I’m a big reader, so I have to push them to read.”

Principal Beth Fiten describes Lapine as the “standard” for Roosevelt. “She is a grandmother to many of the students here and maybe even some of the staff,” Fiten said.

Second grade teacher Juliann O’Brien, who was part of putting the celebration together, admires the way that Lapine motivates students to do better.

“They ask her questions and she pushes them, but it’s from the heart,” O’Brien said.

Lapine credits her longevity and approach to life to her Irish bloodline.

As the continues to share her book of knowledge and maintain her passion for Roosevelt, she insists that she is not a teacher.

“I just love it here, everyone is so friendly,” Lapine said. “I’m not a teacher, just me.”


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