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A half-century after beginning her career as an English teacher at the only high school in the small town of Waller, Texas, Celeste Eplen put down her chalk and eraser for the last time this month.

"I thought I needed to turn it over to younger hands," said Ms. Eplen, who is 72.

After graduating from Rice University, Ms. Eplen landed her first and only job--on the faculty at Waller High School--in 1938. During the next five decades, she taught much of the town's population.

"Everybody under 70 years of age who went through Waller schools has been in my class," Ms. Eplen said last week.


Dianne P. Dunfey, a New Hampshire social-studies teacher who has been arrested several times while protesting against a nearby nuclear-power plant, has accused the Seabrook school district of firing her solely because of her activism.

Ms. Dunfey, who was voted "best female teacher" by her students in each of the three years she has taught at the district's junior high school, was informed this spring that her contract would not be renewed.

Ms. Dunfey has filed a grievance against the district with the local teachers' union and plans to file suit in federal court.

The 29-year-old teacher was arrested again last week while demonstrating against the Seabrook plant.

Leon Worthley, an assistant superintendent for the district, said that Ms. Dunfey's contract was terminated as part of staff reductions resulting from budget cuts.

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