GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A tearful sendoff at a local elementary school happened around 1 p.m. Thursday. Students and staff were able to say goodbye to someone that has been around for more than three decades.

Self-proclaimed happiest person on earth, Ellen Pelkin says she worked as a playground supervisor and lunchroom monitor at Eisenhower Elementary School before her retirement, an employee there for the past 33 years.

“It’s been such a joy for me to work here and retiring is actually hard,” she laughed. “But I hope to come back and help out anywhere I can. Yeah, I love it. My heart is here.”

Students greeted Pelkin in the cafeteria and held a procession around the school – applauding her and showing their appreciation of her commitment.

“I feel presidential,” Pelkin explained. “I’m honored and every staff person here should be sitting here because of what they do and the love they have for these kids and what they teach them outside of what you think they teach them. They’re amazing people.”

“I have been very fortunate in that the people that I’ve worked with – administration, now and in the past – have been wonderful. They’ve been accepting of me and my quirky sense of humor. And so I come to work being glad I’m coming to work every day. And that’s a really good feeling I wish everyone could have.”

And the kids. She says she will remember every one of them. “[They] steal your heart… So, I’m blessed.”

As for her plans for retirement? She says she plans to stay close to home.

“You know, kina staying home and being with my husband and I’ve got a son and we go out for coffee every day. I live an exciting life,” she said, before laughing at the idea. “Just to relax. Maybe I’ll write a book.”