“Work is not work if you love what you do” is the phrase that has defined Nancy Handley’s career for the past 44 years. From a home economics teacher to a physical education drillmaster, she always knew how to impact the lives of her students.
“You guys should be grateful. This is the same lady that got me in shape in the beginning. I used to be so lazy. All those days of hard working insanity, running the mile, crunches,” said one of Mrs. Handley’s former students. It’s that satisfaction, she said, to know that she has seen her students grow and return to thank her for the role she played in their lives that kept her going.
For many, her class was the most dreaded time of the day but after leaving they came to realize that she did it for their own good. Promoting their health and future.
Not only did Ms. Handley help students achieve their physical potential but she even taught them how to dance. Teaching the boys and girls key rhythms to mastering dances like salsa and bachata.
“She was fun, always encouraging us in all aspects,” said Nicole Quintana, a 10th grader from the Communications & Entertainment academy.
She took pride in this along with the ability to make her high school students active. Handley has always valued her own personal strength and she promises to “walk five miles every morning” like she has done ever since she can remember. “Your health is your wealth” is her motto and she plans to keep it safe. Even though Ms. Handley is retiring from teaching she is not planning on retiring from her healthy and fit lifestyle.
Ms. Handley treasures the teaching aspect of her life but is glad she gets to fulfill her wishes of traveling all around the world. 2015 is her time. She plans to go back to Houston where her most beloved remain and throw a pajama party with her graduate school friends.
“Then in April I’m going to travel to Paris, Dubai, and then Hawaii in August”. There’s no time like the present and there’s no stopping Mrs. Handley from continuing to do as her heart desires.
“She was a disciplinarian, always at work and dependable. Sometimes we danced to salsa in class. I will miss her but she was ready to move into another chapter in her life.” said Mr. Williams, Physical Education faculty at Miami Lakes Tech.
Ms. Handley will sure be missed. Her students rewarded her with a standing ovation as she exited her final teaching period. She replied with a sincere smile and admitted she will cherish all the memories she had at MLEC.
The endless mile runs around the bus loop, the countless burpees, and the repetitive steps up and down bleachers will be just a few of the things that students at MLEC will remember her by, but especially for her dedication to them and the amazing Zumba lessons.