The Century Club: Former SHS teacher celebrates 100th birthday

Jane Lusk opened the stack of dozens of birthday cards she received from friends, family and former students during her 100th birthday party. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
Staff Writer

Jane Lusk celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday afternoon at the Claiborne at Adelaide surrounded by family, friends and former students.

Jane Lesley Weygandt Lusk was born March 28, 1918, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1941, she received a bachelor of science from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a master of science from Washington STate University in 1947.

Lusk was a biology teacher at Starkville High School for 37 years from 1958 until 1995, and then she worked part-time until fully retiring at the age of 90.

Starkville Police Chief visited Lusk's birthday party to wish her a happy birthday. Nichols said Lusk taught him high school biology in the late 1980's.

Along with teaching at SHS, Lusk served with the Committee of Medical Research with the Office of Scientific Research and Development at the University of Pennsylvania from 1942 through 1945. She is the recipient of the Outstanding Secondary Science Teacher from the University of Mississippi chapter Sigma Xi and Mississippi STate University Sigma Xi, Hall of Master Teachers Award from Mississippi University for Women and the Ageless Hero Award from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Lusk married John William Lusk November 1945, and the couple were married for over forty years before he passed away in 1988. The pair have three children, Gordon Lusk, Christina Lusk and Lloyd Lusk; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren, ranging in ages from one-year-old to a soon-to-be college graduate.

Two of Lusk's grandchildren, Caleb Lusk and Amber Hillman, both said Lusk taught them the importance of studying hard and receiving a good graduation.

Caleb Lusk said every year, his family would travel to Starkville for Christmas, and after returning home, he and his siblings would write thank-you notes to his grandparents for their Christmas gifts.

"She would send us notes back with corrections in them," Caleb Lusk said with a laugh. "That's what it was like having a teacher as a grandmother."

Lusk's son Lloyd Lusk said his mother and father both taught him and his siblings respect for others and authority, as well as a lot about science.

"Once I went to college, I barely had to study in my biology classes because she was so good in high school," Lloyd Lusk said. "She was tough and didn't play favorites with any of us, but she taught us well."

"We were brought up strict, but not strict that would hurt us," Lloyd Lusk said. "We learned how to be a good citizen."

During her party, Lusk and her guests enjoyed cake and other snacks, as well as opened stacks of birthday cards.

"She loves opening her birthday cards and looking back on them each year," Lusk's daughter Christina Lusk said. "I will have to get her a new box to keep all the cards she received this year."

Lusk said the best way to live a long life is simply "to survive."

"There's no secret to it," she said. "Some people live this long and some people don't."