My last year in the old Upper School -- back to the past, U-50, my first classroom. The building had a flavor that elicits a smile on my face, even though the building was falling apart in 1976 when I arrived on campus. One window I could never lock remained the window I still could not lock -- as a first-class woolgatherer, such easy access was a plus for inadequate maintenance of prime real estate. I loved this building and mourned when it came time to bid adieu to the building. In the archives, here is a photo of me in the chained to a door; my classroom door is part of the archives, as is an Upper School locker (thanks to John Rice’ 94).
In my previous rambling, I mentioned Charles Elbot’s proposal in the spring of 1993. Better than winning an Oscar and thanking Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn as they gave me my richly deserved award. Like Don Corleone, Mr. Elbot made me an offer I could not refuse: teaching the entire seventh grade English; unlike Don Corleone, Charles’s offer was a gift I shall never forget. It was only a one-year commitment. I cared not; I was the happiest person in the Upper School.
The heaven-sent delight continued when I met with Mrs. Stokes (maybe, other members of the US English department) about seventh grade. Kathy wondered whether I might be willing to add Bible stories and King Arthur to the curriculum because she, among others, wished to update the eighth and ninth grade curricula. My response was the “ very affirmative yes, yes heard ‘round the world." May Jesus forgive me, but I was walking on water.
That summer, I carefully planned out each semester. Each unit became more of an appetizer than the gargantuan meal I usually offered seventh graders when we studied Greek mythology all year. It was a wonderful year with the class of 1996. They accepted everything we did with nary a shrug. They may have been the most willing group of seventh graders I had ever taught.
Heck, even my advisor group was gracious enough to kneel in prayer in front of Brooks Brothers at the Tabor Center so that I might take a photo of them. The seventh grade was on a trip exploring the wonders of downtown; I explained that BB was my favorite place downtown.
This was also the year of the infamous bridge, the construction of the new Upper School bldg (the Gates Upper School), and hints that the Georgia Nelson bldg would be renovated. I was often curious about the new Upper School building. In fact, it became the place for me to explore on the weekends when boredom set in as I was preparing lessons for the week. Nothing could stop me from roaming. When Larry Dougherty heard whispers of my visits, he asked me to stop. He was worried I might hurt myself-- Dr. Dougherty was such a kind man.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.