It’s no wonder that Angie Jones is often called “Energizer Bunny.” At 90 ½years old, her boundless energy, her generosity, her positive attitude, her enthusiasm for Waterloo and above all, her unflagging dedication to bridging cultural gaps between Americans and Spanish-speaking countries, especially Mexico, leave people in awe.
That is just part of the reasons she was selected to receive this year’s Henry C. Welles Award at Celebrate Commemorate.
The Waterloo Library & Historical Society will award Angie Jones the ninth annual Henry C. Welles Award, honoring a local citizen, who through dedicated service to the community of Waterloo, has made Waterloo a better place to live. Henry C. Welles was the co-founder of Memorial Day in Waterloo.
The award ceremony will be from 5:30 to 6:30 PM in Fatzinger Hall, 31 E. Williams St., Waterloo NY, on May 26, 2017. Special guests include Theodore Roosevelt ,and Abraham Lincoln. The event will kick-off the Waterloo Memorial Day weekend festivities, Celebrate Commemorate, and is free and open to the public.
Angie came to Waterloo in 1952 as a young bride, bringing with her a unique vision and style of teaching. “I believe foreign language, especially Spanish, should not be just for college-bound students but for everyone,” she explained. “I began conversational Spanish courses. When I came, there were six Spanish students in Waterloo High School. When I retired 39 years later, they needed seven teachers to handle all the students!” Angie served as mentor to the new teachers, and as language department chair for many years, passing on her love of language and culture..
Angie shared that love not only with the hundreds of students, but also with other teachers and people in the community through workshops at teacher conventions and the trips she led to Spanish-speaking countries around the world. In fact, her tours became so popular that Angie began a new career as a certified travel agent when she retired from teaching, continuing to take tour groups to Mexico. And always, she brought back items and materials to share with the teachers and students in Waterloo.
Those tours led Angie to take up a third career, as an author, writing and publishing Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life last year for her 90th birthday. It contains stories and photos based on her 18 years of attending the October festival in Oaxaca, Mexico.
In addition to her teaching duties, Angie founded the Snapettes baton twirling corps, guiding young girls and a corps of dedicated parents as they learned the sport, marched in parades and competed throughout the Northeast, even winning a national title.
“She was relentless in making sure our students had the best experiences possible and provided countless opportunities for fund raising so that every child could participate. She did the same thing for her trips with students with regard to fundraising. She wanted to make sure that every child could travel if they were willing to work for it,” said her daughter, Karen Moretti.. “What wonderful lessons in life!”
She sponsored Immigration Days dinners and community Christmas caroling and worked at and donated cakes for cake booths at the county fair. Retirement and joining the ranks of senior citizens hasn’t slowed Angie down. She continues to be active in many committees, eager to lend a hand or donate a raffle basket to a worthy cause. She’s helped fill food bags for Trevor’s Gift backpack program, worked at St. Mary’ Festival and just participated in her first spelling bee to support Literacy Volunteers.
“At my age, people could say I’m too old, but they don’t. They are so kind. I’m in good health and I have a lot more to give,” she said. Angie keeps in contact with generations of students and parents through Facebook. ”I love my Facebook! Its one of my 99 blessings!”
At Celebrate Commemorate, you can find Angie at the Visitor’s Booth on the corner of Memorial Day Place, making new friends for Waterloo with her customary cheerfulness. “I love everything about Waterloo,” she said “The people are so nice. It’s a real close-knit community.”