Pam Murphy lauded for impact on Peterborough Elementary School students, community

  • Pam Murphy Courtesy photo—

  • PES students celebrate Pam Murphy, center, at an event in 2019. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger Transcript
Published: 6/22/2022 1:06:27 PM
Modified: 6/22/2022 1:06:08 PM

After 24 years, retiring Peterborough Elementary School nurse Pam Murphy still wishes she could give back more.

“I’m just one cog in a much larger wheel,” she said.

While it’s true that Murphy has been part of the larger PES team, according to PES physical education teacher John Szep, she has been more than just a nurse. He says she is beloved by students, parents and teachers throughout the town.

“We all know she’s busy, we see it every day,” Szep said. “She’s like a nurse/emergency room for whole community, she gives great advice. And she was asked to do so much with COVID, she became a testing site on top of everything else.” 

Lynn Compton, PES music and art teacher, agreed.

“The pandemic has been so hard, and she’s done 10 times the work to keep us all safer,” she said.

Compton has also seen Murphy go above and beyond in other ways.

“Her professionalism is just so high that it’s something other people can look up to. When someone can set an example of how to treat children, it impacts the whole school,” Compton said. “Her knowledge of the kids and their parents, those relationships take a long time to build. She has those relationships, not just with the school but with the community.”

Despite putting in so much extra time, Szep says the quality of Murphy’s work never faltered.

“She handles it all with grace and patience. She’s just perfect for the job,” he said

Szep also listed some lifelong skills that Murphy gave her students.

“She had all sorts of ways to instantly make a kid feel better when they weren’t feeling well, but she was also able to teach the kids when they could help themselves,” he said. “She taught them to self-advocate.” 

As much as Murphy has affected her community, she feels that the community has impacted her, as well, which is part of what kept her at the school all these years. She discussed how much she loves being a part of a small town, seeing families in grocery stores and having students come trick-or-treating at her house.

“Oh gosh, the kids… the stories they tell, seeing them in the hall, the art they make, chatting with them,” she said. “Then they grow up, and I see them on the street, and they remember me!”

Murphy’s deep love for the job is another reason why she stayed at PES.

“There’s autonomy in school nursing, and I like being autonomous. We’re the leaders of health in the school,” she said. “On a smaller scale, there’s satisfaction with helping a child who’s not feeling well, or who’s hurt. On a larger scale, I like being part of a team.”

According to a quote from former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, “You can’t educate people that are not healthy. But you certainly can’t keep them healthy if they’re not educated.”

“I want to keep kids healthy to help them be educated,” Murphy said in reference to this quote.

As for retirement, Murphy doesn’t plan on slowing down. She talked about spending time outdoors and traveling, and looks forward to having time for activities like hiking and kayaking. 

“I am not one that sits easily,” she said. 

Murphy mentioned a book by David Brooks, “The Second Mountain,” which is about finding and fulfilling one’s second purpose in life.

“(I’d like) to make a difference and make myself feel good,” Murphy said. “I want to find my second mountain.”


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