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Former Hinckley-Big Rock teacher memorialized with donation to school playground

HINCKLEY – Margot Mattin was an educator for 34 years and affected a lot of lives, so her friends and former colleagues at Hinckley-Big Rock thought hard for a way to properly honor her.

Instead of flowers, they found a way to help the school where Margot spent her career teaching. On Friday, her husband, Gary, and son, Seth, presented a $450 check to Hinckley-Big Rock Elementary School to help support a new playground for the school.

“She touched a lot of kids’ lives in the community,” Seth said. “[The playground] will continue to bring joy to kids long after her passing. It’s what my mom would have wanted.”

Margot died Jan. 11, of heart failure.

The check was made up of funds friends of Gary’s late wife, Margot, raised in order to honor Margot’s memory. She taught at the district for 34 years.

Gary and Seth said Margot loved her students. Gary lives in Sycamore and Seth lives in Colorado.

She used her artistic abilities to put smiles on the children’s faces, Gary said.

“She used to make dinosaur cookies,” Gary said.

Gary was married to Margot for 43 years and taught in the district himself for 31 years. He said helping the school get a new playground is something Margot would have very much favored.

“She would have been delighted,” Gary said, as the family’s two dogs: Sherlock, the toy Yorkshire terrier, and Ms. Watson, the toy poodle, circled around his legs.

The fundraiser began small with a few of Margot’s colleagues at the school wanting to do something for the family.

Once Fran Adams, who was one of Margot’s friends and a colleague of hers for 15 years, heard the news that Margot died, she and a couple of other teachers started a fund to buy flowers for the Mattin family.

After some further Facebook activities, they saw the school’s playground project. Adams said she suggested the group put their money towards the playground instead.

“Everybody went nuts,” Adams said.

Adams said Margot would like the playground dedication.

“I think she’d be happy to see her friends do something in her memory,” Adams said. “Especially since it’s something for the kids to enjoy.”

Ashley Hughes, secretary at Hinckley-Big Rock Elementary School, received the check on behalf of the school.

Hughes said the check would be used to pay for a “Ball-toss” game, which is one of the things on the docket for the playground. She said it’s important to have a nice, new space for the students to play.

“It’s good to have it in memory of someone who worked for the district,” Hughes said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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