As yellow school buses once again travel up and down our streets, one can’t help but reminisce on the days we spent inside the classroom. Friends were found, lessons learned, and for one Parsons Presbyterian Manor resident, legacies were made.
Jean Fabrycky was a long-time Parsons school teacher, but her influence on youth didn’t end when she retired from teaching. In total, she taught for nearly 30 years, and then went on to form the MAGIC club, which stood for “Me and God in Company.” She did that for 10 years, and was also a substitute teacher. You’d be hard pressed to find many Parsons residents who weren’t impacted by Jean in one way or another.
“Almost everywhere I go, people say, ‘I had your grandmother as a teacher,’” said Caleb Fabrycky, Jean’s grandson. “She really had an ability to influence children. Every time she goes to the grocery store, or anywhere, she sees former students, and there are several families with multiple generations taught by my grandmother. She really did have a profound effect on many young children in town. Whether directly with teaching or volunteering with the church, she really did affect the lives of many children in Parsons.”
So how did Jean come to be a teacher? It was the influence of her grandfather, the preacher, builder, and all-around inspiration.
“My grandad H.L. Marsh lived half a block away. He was a generous man, and taught me to do so many things. He believed in me. He lost his eyesight in the late 40s when he was attacked, and had to relearn how to do so many things. He was able to do so much though, even build homes, and had such a faith.”
Jean had a wide variety of interests and abilities, including drama and choir, and is known as a gifted singer, even today. She grew up across the street from Wichita State University, and has a funny story about how she met her husband, who also worked in education.
“I was a senior in high school, and my parents decided to rent out a bedroom to a student for extra income. But they rented to boys, not girls, because there was a frat house across the street. Well he met me though! He went to WSU for a year, then when I decided to go to Asbury University for my teaching degree, he came along. He ended up getting his Master’s and was a psychology professor at Valparaiso.”
Jean and her husband had three children, one of whom passed away, as well as seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her teaching legacy extends beyond the classroom and into the family. Her daughter-in-law and granddaughter are teachers, and a future granddaughter-in-law is a teacher. Her father and uncle were also college professors.
“I guess you could say she influenced us to marry teachers,” joked Jean’s son Steve. “We saw the value of education. Teaching was not just a job for her. Her commitment to children, whether it was at MAGIC club, teaching, as a youth sponsor at church, at youth bible school or even when she restarted the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Labette county, there’s just so much she’s done.”
We thank Jean for her dedication to children throughout the years, and no doubt, Parsons is a better place thanks to her impact. Her advice to new and weary teachers alike is advice for us all: keep the faith.