HALTOM CITY -- Most people might be exhausted after a 12-hour day of looking after babies and preschoolers.
Apparently not Dorothy Record.
Record, assistant director at Becky's Northeast Primary School, will celebrate her 88th birthday on Wednesday. And in October, she'll mark 40 years of working at the facility, where she started as a teacher.
So how does she keep herself going?
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"Chasing these kids," is all she'll say.
Five days a week, Record drives the one mile from her home to open the school on Higgins Lane at 6:30 a.m. She closes the doors at 6 p.m. In between, she prepares the kids' breakfast (oatmeal or Cream of Wheat ) and morning refreshments, handles her own classroom of 3-year-olds in the mornings, oversees naptime and after-schoolers, and makes the bank runs.
The day-care center typically cares for 60 children in the course of a day, and Record is now working with her third generation of some families.
At an age when most people have long left their working lives behind them, Record is part of a small segment of the workforce. Working Americans age 75 and older numbered 1.2 million in 2010, or about 6.9 percent of the population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"She's our gofer," said Gean Fuqua, the school's director. "She does anything and everything. She won't take vacation."
Record is entitled to two weeks of vacation per year, and by Fuqua's figuring, "she probably has 20 or 30 weeks coming to her."
Marena Miller, a Fort Worth schoolteacher who used to work at Becky's, says Record is the school's de facto chief morale officer, doling out Hershey's candy bars from a stash in her desk.
"The kids love her," Miller says. "She's very humble. She won't say anything about herself."
When she began working at the center, the youngest of Record's four daughters was in middle school. Her husband died 20 years ago, and she has outlived two of her daughters. She has 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, several of whom passed through Becky's over the years.
The focus of the school has changed since she started. It opened in the mid-1960s as a private elementary school, but scaled back several years ago.
Record runs into former students from time to time. They come visit the school, or she runs into them at the grocery store.
"We have a lot of kids who come back to visit, just to see if we're still here," she says.
Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808