Alford Retires from Child Care Center
Team leader Sonia Alford retired from North Mississippi Medical Center’s Child Care Center on March 4 with more than 29 years of service.
A Fulton native, Alford graduated from Itawamba Agricultural High School in 1980. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 1984 from Mississippi State University in Starkville and taught kindergarten for seven years at Dorsey Attendance Center.
Soon after marrying Mike Alford in 1987, they moved to Indianapolis because of his military commission. She taught kindergarten in Indianapolis for a year before they moved to Tupelo in 1988. She took some time away from the classroom and worked for many years at McRae’s (later Belk), primarily at a makeup counter but also filling in for other departments.
When NMMC’s Child Care Center opened in 1992, Alford joined the staff to teach 3-year-olds. Over the years she also taught 4- and 5-year-old classrooms, as well as the former kindergarten program, after-school program and “specials” including sign language, music and art for preschoolers. She served as a Team Leader for many years, most recently for Rooms 5, 6 and 11.
The classroom was not the only place Alford worked at the Child Care Center – you might also have found her driving a bus, preparing meals or organizing special events. Most notably, she directed the Child Care Center’s annual Christmas program for hospital employees and guests in the NMMC Food Court.
“I’ve been here so long, now I’m teaching kids of kids I taught,” Alford says. “It has been very rewarding and enjoyable. I’m going to miss hearing ‘Miss Sonia, Miss Sonia’” every day. The kids hold a special place in my heart. I’ll also miss the coworkers and friends I’ve met along the way.”
After years of coming in at 6:30 a.m., Alford can’t wait to sleep in a little. “When I first started, everyone remembers I came in with a Hershey chocolate bar with almonds and a Diet Coke. That was my thing,” she quips. “I’ve tried to get a little healthier over the years, so about 10 years ago I started coming in with a Kind bar and water.” She’s planning a bonfire to burn her collection of khaki pants, the Child Care Center’s required attire.
Now that she is retired, Alford looks forward to “putting her toes in the sand” in Pensacola, where their 21-year-old daughter, Lyndsey, lives. They enjoy taking out the boat they keep docked there, as well as going fishing on Pickwick Lake. Lyndsey’s twin, Sydney, passed away in 2017 at age 17.
Eventually, the Alfords would like to move to a more tropical climate—perhaps Key West, Florida. In the meantime, she plans to travel, read, cook and visit family to her heart’s content.