Woodward Park Middle School has been part of Lois Dosky's life since long before she was a student at what was then Woodward Park Junior High.
Dosky grew up just a few blocks from the Karl Road school. Her family moved in 1963 into the last house before the street gave way to woods.
She went to Woodward Park after attending first Devonshire and then Alpine elementary schools, but by then was intimately familiar with the building.
"Ironically, my mother was a teacher," Dosky said last week. "She's retired now. She actually worked at Woodward Park for 33 years before she retired.
"She used to drag me here, probably from the age of 10, to stock the shelves and put the books in order. I've spent most of my life here at Woodward Park."
That's going to change come Dec. 20.
Dosky, 55, will be following her mother, Carol Brown, into retirement, not quite matching her mom's 33 years but having spent 23 years with Columbus City Schools.
Mom could use some help now, and so, Dosky, who lives on the Northwest Side, will be leaving a job she still loves in a building as familiar to her as any home she ever had.
"What I will miss the most are my kids, my students," Dosky said last week.
"When students ask me about my own children, I tell them, 'This year I have 125,' and all of a sudden, they realize what that means," she said.
"They are my kids for as long as they want to be. I will also really miss my colleagues.
"What I will miss the least, I think it's probably a tossup: my alarm going off at 5 a.m. or deciding what I have to wear."
Dosky, in turn, will be missed by those same colleagues.
"You grow to love each other after all these years together and you really become family," said Karen Krupa, a science teacher at Woodward Park.
"A great deal of personal and professional respect comes from a relationship likes this," Krupa said. "I'm definitely sorry to see her go.
"She'll be leaving very large shoes to fill and I don't know who can fill those shoes because she did a fantastic job while she was here."
"She is really wonderful to work with," Principal Diane Agnes said.
"She is a teacher who goes an extra 100 miles for kids. She's just really dedicated to them," Agnes said.
"She probably attends more evening events than another other teacher in our building to support kids.
"It leaves a big void in our math department," Agnes added. "She is the teacher who was always looking for new ways to do things."
Teaching wasn't necessarily in the cards for Dosky, in spite of all that time spent at work with her mother.
After graduating from high school in Westerville once the family had moved to Minerva Park, Dosky earned a degree in business administration at Ohio State University.
She wanted to teach, but the field was saturated at the time, so she worked for a while as an accountant at her alma mater and then in her father's business.
After his death, Dosky taught tennis at Olympic Indoor Tennis Club on Indianola Avenue in Clintonville. It was while instructing deaf students and paraplegic adults the spark to turn to teaching was renewed.
"At the ripe age of 31, I went back and got my masters of education in a one-year program," Dosky said.
She had returned to her job at the tennis club when her mother, Carol Brown, chanced to walk past the office of Woodward Park's principal and overheard her say, "We need to hire another teacher."
"I've got just the person," Brown piped up, according to her daughter. "You already have her."
Dosky had been a volunteer tutor at the middle school for some years prior to showing up in her tennis attire for a job interview, one that landed her the post she has loved.
"It is the most challenging yet rewarding job I have ever had," Dosky said. "I love what I do, love what I do. There are probably not too many people who can say that, but I'm one of them. I call Woodward Park my second home, my second family.
"Every day is just a new experience, new and fun and exciting."
Dosky was on the same staff with her mother for 15 years.
She said she plans to return to teaching tennis in Clintonville, and might take a part-time job at her church, King Avenue United Methodist in the Short North.
Dosky said she also plans to travel and to continue a scholarship a friend established in her name at Woodward Park Middle School, one that provides a check for $250 each year to a boy and a girl who exhibit leadership, citizenship and academic excellence.
"Ultimately, I would love to come back to Woodward Park and tutor again," Dosky said.
"It's always going to be a part of me."