Optimistically Cautious

Friday, June 08, 2007

The End of an Era: Mr. Rice Retires

I took the afternoon off from work on Thursday for a trip back to my alma mater McNally High School. When Mack and I found out that Mr. Rice, our principal during our school years, was retiring, we decided we needed to do something to express our gratitude for his support throughout our time as students, Students' Union presidents, and after graduation.

So a few weeks back, I bought one of those large farewell cards with the intent of collecting as many alumni signatures as possible. With Mack's tireless milking of Facebook as a connectivity tool and flexibility in meeting up with alumni, and my sister Felicia's current McNally student status, the card was filled to the brim with well wishes from graduates as far back as 1997.

Though I've returned on numerous occasions since moving on, it was never as formal as it was in this instance. Megan, at present teaching at McNally, invited Mack and I to their year-end staff meeting. It was a bit surreal walking in upon her introduction, and I could swear that a few of the teachers gasped at the sight of us - probably just an unexpected "blast from the past." Mack expressed the unquantifiable impact Mr. Rice had on him, we presented him with the card, and I gave him a hug. And yes, Mr. Rice re-told the story that would have a better ending if I were actually teaching at the moment.

The attachment that I have to my high school, the teachers, and the principal may be strange, but I never forget that the fond memories I accumulated during those years were because of the people and the leadership(!) I came into contact with, and the confidence they had in my abilities that in many ways encouraged me to continue my work in the community.

I am happy to report, however, that this isn't the end of Mr. Rice's public service - he will be running to be a school trustee next year! Best of luck with the election, and thanks again for all of your guidance and support.

Megan, Anna, Mr. Rice, Mack and I

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