Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thank you USD 264.

Through the years, I have met plenty of different kinds of people educated through a variety of school systems. By & large, the majority complain, no matter if it was parochial school, an edgy urban public school, a wealthy suburban public school or even those home schooled. The teachers, the lunches, the classmates, the sports--one thing or another was unsatisfactory. I, however, am always really proud when I share my experiences. From kindergarten through senior graduation, USD 264 filled my brain cells and guided my social development. For that, I am extremely grateful.

We didn't have a swim team or a tennis squad, and we certainly did not have a winning football team, but we did have a nifty elementary school librarian, Ms. Walker, who would let me check out Laura Ingalls Wilder books before I was really old enough. And in fourth grade, we had teachers who rewarded us with scratch-n-sniff stickers & popcorn parties. We walked from the grade school to the middle school theater for magnificent marionette shows, which is where I first learned about Rip Van Winkle. We had talented high school music concerts and plays that packed 'em in. We had playground equipment that was always well kept. We had a bevy of school buses that would drive through blizzards and hail on washboard roads to bring me and my friends to a warm classrooms (Thank you, Bus #10 driver June Finney!). We had a jazz band in high school that totally rocked, and college prep courses that helped me achieve my bachelor's degree on schedule. We had school principals that would hold frequent pep rallies and tell us how important it was to have school pride and eventually ... to tell us not to drink & drive (Thank you, Mr. January, Mr Riggs, Mr. Pate & Mr. Pauly!). We even had really sweet & beautiful proms.

And there are days when, if I think about it enough, I can still smell those freshly baked homestyle rolls. I LOVED our lunches. Healthy and well-rounded, we weren't bombarded with junky, trendy choices. We had the real deal, like chicken-fried steak and chili and ham & cheese sandwiches and chopped salad (still my fav way to get it) and Frito pie and pizza boats and crispitos and buttered corn and peach cobbler and green beans and ... those cinnamon rolls! Oh, man. You could smell the sugary white glaze and the yeasty dough the moment you walked into the school. Thank you Mary Alice Sperry!

And USD 264 is still offering itself to me today. It will be on the Clearwater Middle School track--the place where I first learned about sprints and spikes and nearly keeled over after my first mile-long run--where we'll all share a few steps together to honor children who have fought for their lives. Schools, fundamentally, are all about shaping and developing children's brains. It's only fitting that here is where we begin to save them, too.

USD 264 is a gold sponsor for the Twilight Walk. We thank you collectively as an organization, we thank you as a community and I thank you personally for making a place for us.

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