In describing the last 24 hours, memorable bookends may be the most fitting description. Last night, our local OPC hosted the May general meeting, elections, as well as scholarship recognitions and retirement celebrations. I was honoured to be included with 12 of my colleagues as our contributions over the years were acknowledged. As I made my way to Stoneridge for the festivities, I could not help but recall the first time I walked into the Thames Room at our Board office in August of 2004. I was a newly appointed Vice Principal and nervous about absolutely everything (what to wear, an appropriate time to arrive, where to sit, what was the day going to bring) ~ very reminiscent of the first day of high school…LOL. As I walked into the large gymnasium, filled with round tables and hundreds of chairs, scanning the room, trying to look confident, I was relieved when my new Principal partner motioned me over, as she had a seat for me. I have never forgotten how she saved me that day and in moving forward, I extended the same “saving grace” to all of my subsequent admin partners.
Fast forward 19 years and once again, I find myself walking into a room of my esteemed colleagues. But this time with a sense of admiration, respect, and love for many of them who have been guiding forces in my career. A senior team that I know well and have counted on for support and guidance (and once or twice a shoulder ~ or a kick in the butt when I needed a dose of confidence). Most of them entering administration after me ~ but gracious enough to allow me to be a part of their leadership journey. This time it was for the last time, and I was so thrilled that my current VP partners (who have become close friends) were there with me, “saving me a seat”!
Six years ago, during our first year as a school family, for our spring Professional Learning Day, as staff, we decided to take advantage of a day to enjoy a meal together. We selected the Mandarin restaurant, which serves an extensive, delicious buffet. A lunch option that allowed us to maintain the learning agenda, as well as the 45 minute lunch time expectation. It is a quick 3 minute drive from our school! That spring, I was newly back from a February skating accident where I had shattered my femur. I recall that my VP partner was my chauffeur as I was not authorized to drive yet.
As we were finishing, a few of my team members had shared with the restaurant serving crew that it was my birthday (shhhh…. not really) and much to my surprise out came a large sombrero, a cake with a candle and a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. I’m pretty sure my face resembled the red sweet/sour sauce that accompanies the egg rolls.
On subsequent PD Day lunches, this became a Currie Crew tradition ~ whether we were at Jack Astor’s, Kelsey’s or we brought in lunch. I enjoyed multiple birthday celebrations! Our team loves to make me smile and blush simultaneously. Unfortunately, with COVID restrictions over the past couple of years, we have not been able to enjoy a “family” meal.
But today, almost our entire team chose to return to the Mandarin for a family style lunch. Kudos to the Mandarin staff, who had it down to a science as we were in and out within 45 minutes 😊
And as you can imagine, once again out came the cupcake, the candle, and a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday!
As the singing faded and the photos were captured, I started to hum the song that was a part of last night’s OPC celebration ~ Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This.”
You’re gonna miss thisYou’re gonna want this back You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast These are some good times So take a good look around You may not know it now But you’re gonna miss this