As we near the end of the 2019/2020 school year, we thought it’d be fitting to share our favorite school memories. We’d also like to congratulate all the graduates and wish them the best of luck on their next chapter. We’re rooting for you!
Ms. Collins taught Math at Americana Elementary School, just across the street from the library. For our multiplication table quizzes, we used forms with circles the size of a nickel to pencil our answer in. If we got a perfect score, we were invited to pick a full-size candy bar from the bottom drawer of her desk! A full-size!
In elementary school I was placed in an at-risk group of students who were not reaching academic standards, or who were falling behind the other students. I had a lot of problems reading and retaining what I read. At some point in the year, our teacher started this spelling game (I think it was called spelling wizards or something like that), and for each week we were assigned 10 spelling words. For each word you spelled correctly, you progressed one space on this giant board that took up a better part of the wall in our classroom. For every 10 words you spelled correctly you would progress to a new character in the game. I was so motivated by that game! I sat and studied our weekly spelling words for hours. I ended up being the first student to reach the “grand wizard” level by spelling all my words correctly over the course of 8 or 10 weeks. I was so proud of myself. Shortly after this achievement, I was removed from the at-risk group.
One of my enduring memories of elementary school is the snowball fights. Now, I know that most schools today frown on this, but when I was a kid (approximately 500 years ago), we used to look forward to them. But they weren’t what you may think. I attended St. Joseph’s elementary school in Manhattan, Illinois. Although we had lay teachers, the two rocks of our school were the principal, Sr. Donna Marie, and our gym teacher, Sr. Bernadine. Now, Sr. Bernadine was tough as nails, but kind. A few times each winter, when we had good snow, she would lead us all in a huge snowball fight on the playground. She gave as good as she got and always made sure it didn’t get out of hand.
When thinking about my first years at school, I always think about the time my kindergarten teacher made us green eggs and ham after reading the Dr. Seuss book. I was absolutely amazed that my teacher knew how to do this, and that we were allowed to eat such a ridiculous thing! I had never seen a hotplate before, and I thought it was pure magic to be able to cook something without a full kitchen. There is so much wonderment during those first few years of school. I can’t wait to get back to the library, and share more joy with all of our early childhood patrons. I am sure everyone is going to have a lot of quarantine stories to share with me, and I cannot wait to hear them all!
My memory is of the kids that come in right after school, making the library all alive and wild! It’s always fun to work at the Circulation Desk and make change for the kids who have large bills that would like to use our vending machines for an after-school snack. I always chuckle when their buddies insist they share so they can get a snack, too! Whenever there is a day off from school, I miss them. I can’t wait for our routine to return to normal.