Did you hear that? It's the sound of bells ringing, backpacks being unzipped and lockers being shut. Yes, East County schools are waking up after a lovely summer break. Some of our student friends hit the campus pavement earlier this month, while Antioch and Pittsburg districts begin soon. As another school year begins, I asked some local educators to share a favorite school memory from their time when they were students.
Maria Allen, Marsh Creek Elementary, Brentwood: "I had some wonderful and creative teachers. My kindergarten teacher, Miss Pon (one of my favorite teachers ever), taught us about butterflies. She had a big branch from a milkweed plant on her wall, and there were caterpillars crawling on it. Eventually they changed into monarch butterflies. In third grade, we learned cursive. Once you showed (the teacher) you could write beautifully in pencil you were rewarded with 'The Green Pen.' It had a curvy body so it rested just so on your fingers. I remember coveting that pen and once I got it, it was a prized possession."
Deb Chin, Belshaw Elementary, Antioch: "I've got some real special memories ... I remember being quite energized when my second-grade teacher had us make a life-size cow as part of our farm unit. I really wanted it to be a Holstein. After we all had a chance at dipping the torn newspaper strips in the starch mixture and draping it on the wire frame the teacher provided, we let it dry then painted it into a Holstein.
Curtis Corlew, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg: "When I was in high school, in the days before Prop. 13, we got to go to San Francisco and see a professional production of Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice.' It was astounding. They made the play come alive in a way our reading preparation never could. They had (all) high school students by the heart. When Shylock got his comeuppance, the audience -- who had been sitting on the edges of their seats leaning forward -- exploded in a huge outpouring of emotion."
Deb Vickery, Prospects High, Antioch: "(I was) a super quiet student and new at my school in seventh grade. My principal, Mr. Yoder, took an individual interest in me. He insisted on having me tested for GATE and gave me the keys to the school ball shack with the job to check out balls and jump ropes every recess. It gave me such confidence to think someone thought I was smart and trustworthy, and having this job to do gave me a new sense of purpose. Maybe even more importantly, I knew I had a friend on my side in Mr. Yoder, although unexpected."
Ashley Wilkins, Marsh Elementary, Antioch: "I will always remember my favorite teachers and their classrooms. I remember Mrs. Pryor's class at Kimball Elementary. I was in her second-grade class (and then) in her second/third-grade combo the following year. I loved the way her classroom smelled, the way it looked and the way it made me feel when I walked in the door. I will always remember her and her kind demeanor with all students. She was kind, caring, enthusiastic and funny. I hope when students walk in and out of my door year after year they have the same fond memories I have of my teachers. I hope (my) students enjoy my classroom as much as I enjoy teaching them. And, I hope they remember how much fun they had, but that they also realize how much they learned.