One of the things that makes Chets Creek such a fun and special place to work is that we enjoy being together and we celebrate together. We really are an extended family. Today the Kindergarten Team had a surprise celebration for Barbara Ellis, last year's "Chets Creek Employee of the Year," because tomorrow is Barbara's 65th birthday!!! Barbara came to us about seven years ago after her husband retired and they returned from overseas. Barbara's daughter and daughter-in-law, Debby Cothern and Michelle Ellis, both teach at Chets and at the time her grandchildren were students at the Creek. Barbara had been a paraprofessional before her husband left to work overseas and so after they returned she joined the Chets Creek team, partially to be near her daughters and grands. She didn't really need to work, but she loved the work. Her daughter and daughter-in-law co-teach and there have been years when Barbara worked in their room! Now however, the grandchildren have graduated from elementary school, but we are so fortunate that Barbara has stayed with us. She's one of reasons that Chets Creek is so strong. Not only is Barbara efficient and organized - not only is she kind and caring, but she's just experienced about life. She's your mother, your grandmother if you're a little one, your best friend. We are a better school because Barbara chooses to spend her time with us. Here's to the next twenty years! May they be even better than the last twenty - if that's possible!!
Chets Creek is full of moments like this. Earlier this week we celebrated the upcoming wedding of Kinder teacher Laura Stewart with a bridal shower given by the grade level. This morning we offered our families a chance to eat breakfast together at a Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Dads of Chets Creek. At lunch we celebrated with a tailgate party, showing our spirit by dressing according to our loyalties, sponsored by our Social Committee. This is a place that teaches children by example. We teach children to live together as a community by celebrating the small moments in their lives and in our lives. We teach children to value and uplift each other. Don't get me wrong- we have the same challenges that other big schools have today. A child lost her mother this week after a long battle with cancer. Another child confided unimaginable stories of abuse to a teacher. A parent tried to bully his way through Administration by demanding a face-to-face meeting with another parent because the other child said something he perceived as offensive to his child. The list goes on and on of unspeakable hurt and anger. Certainly we could go on and on about the troubles with society today, but we choose instead to continue to reinforce to our children through our examples what healthy, nurturing relationships look like and feel like. We want our children to grab hold of life and soar. That is what people like Barbara Ellis stand for at Chets Creek. May we continue to imprint those life lessons on the generations to come. May we continue to be that shining light in the storm. May we always embrace this part of our mission as educators.