They say everything happens for a reason.
My son attended a local private school for 2 years prior to attending kindergarten. One thing we were sure about was that we wanted him to attend public school as there was very little diversity in his prior school. As with any parents on the eve of their first child set to attend full-day school, we were nervous. One day at the beginning of the summer before he was to start kindergarten, we had a long conversation with a retired teacher of 40 years at the local playground who was there with her granddaughter. We talked about the joys of school and the experiences ahead of him among other things and when she asked where he was set to go, she didn’t have very good things to say when I told her it was Lincoln Elementary. Without any other frame of reference to go by, this news was unsettling, as you can imagine, and the very next day we were calling up the district about open enrollment to another school. The grandmother had spoken very highly about Spring Garden and that became our choice.
As Luck would have it, Spring Garden was full so Lincoln it was. I say luck because our rejection turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was a stay at home dad from the time my wife went back to work from maternity leave so the first day of school, you can imagine, was a tough day for me (for the record, that morning, I did make it to the end of the blacktop and out of his earshot before the tears began). I made it my mission to become as actively involved as I could in his school, including volunteering for every opportunity that came up and joining the PTO. The remind app became a godsend, as I rushed to check it every time there was a text or call for volunteers or something as simple as a pic of my son, enjoying his day. I’m sure his teacher knew that being a kindergarten teacher, she’s in a different category. That was my son, who had been by my side for the last 5 years every day, for better or worse and now, he wasn’t. His days would be spent with her from that point on and now it was her who got to see his smile all day and watch him learn and explore and grow. I can’t tell you how nurturing she was to him as he was going through his own separation issues and, more importantly, how nurturing she was to my wife and I (more me). She welcomed me at every class party, field trip, special lunch and celebration that called for volunteers and it always made my days better knowing there was always an opportunity around the corner to come in and not only help her out but see my son in his new environment with his new friends. As I started to come around more and become more active in the PTO, I started to notice that other teachers, not even in his grade would say hi to him in the halls, even the janitors and lunch crew, as he is very friendly, and that’s when I started to really feel like this was more of a family than just a school. The Lincoln community is one I wouldn’t trade for the world. My son is now in first grade, going through the next chapter in his life and he couldn’t be happier. I love the families and teachers that come to all the events and, from day one, the PTO has been and continues to be very welcoming and embracing of a shy dad who wanted to be a part of the school. I feel like everything I do for the PTO pales in comparison to what the Lincoln teachers do for the kids. Volunteering my time, helping raise money and putting on great events is the very least I can do to give back.
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and it all goes back to his first day and his Kindergarten teacher, Lori Rusack. I’ll always be grateful for her. Grateful for giving my son a passion for learning. Grateful for her teaching him he’s capable of anything he puts his mind to. Grateful to her for giving a shy little boy the room and inspiration to have grown into the confident leader he now is. Grateful for giving a heartbroken daddy all those opportunities to come in and see his buddy a little extra now and then. Most importantly, grateful for giving him a reason to love coming to school every day.
They say everything happens for a reason and I truly believe Lincoln happened to us for a reason.
submitted by Brian M. – proud Lincoln Elementary parent