At DHS Graduation, Principal Praises Retiring Biology Teacher Susan Ruegger

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After 24 years at Darien High School, biology teacher Susan Ruegger retired at the end of the school year. At the Class of 2018 graduation ceremony, Principal Ellen Dunn made the following prepared statement to Ruegger and the crowd.

Dunn first asked Ruegger to come up to the podium, where Ruegger stood next to Dunn as the principal read from an official-looking document. Before she started, Dunn pursed her lips and appeared to be holding back tears, but she quickly said, “I can do it,” and immediately started reading.

Ellen Dunn Susan Ruegger DHS Graduation 2018

Image from DAF Media video of the 2018 DHS graduation

Dunn, just before speaking about Ruegger


Here’s the statement Dunn read:

Consummate Educator, Esteemed Colleague, Solver of Crossword Puzzles, Biology Goddess —

[Ruegger put both thumbs up.]

Thumbs up.

[In an aside, Dunn said, “It’s true.”]

— Tender of Gardens and Minds, Devoted Wife and Loving Mother of Mookie and Kate, Susan Ruegger, for 24 years you have shared your passion for biology and inspired your students to discover their own greatness.

I have long marveled at your profound wisdom, your generosity of spirit, your quiet strength, your keen intellect and your healing humor in the face of sadness.

Under your protective wings, it is now cool to be a member of the Garden Club.

[Ruegger vigorously nodded and said, “Oh yeah!”]

[“Oh yeah,” Dunn replied.]

Ellen Dunn Susan Ruegger

Image from DAF Media video of the event

Dunn and Ruegger, immediately after “Oh, yeah.”


Your students feel loved and challenged in equal parts, and they are better people for having known you.

Your mentorship of young teachers is a legacy that will touch generations of DHS students. As you look back over these years, take with you the deep gratitude of those you have touched over the years and for whom you have made all the difference. We celebrate with you tonight, and we wish you every happiness.

You will be missed more than you know. Congratulations on your retirement.”

Image from DAF Media video of the event

“Thank you,” Ruegger said, and gave Dunn a hug.


Here’sthe DAF Media video of the event, including Dunn’s statement, which starts soon after the 38-minute mark:


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