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Before I excerpt Connie Ankelein’s words on her friend, Margaret Akolt, I must mention two memories: (1) Years ago, Margaret hosted a dinner for the Upper School Search Committee -- she was a member of the committee. The meal that evening was Chinese food. Margaret remembered my stomach’s disdain for Chinese food. What a surprise when she served me boiled chicken, carrots, and white potatoes! A perfect meal for me-- boring and healthy; (2) It was she who decided I would be a kindergarten buddy. What a treat is was to spend time with her students. My favorite memory was teaching Cole Shwayder and Jonathan Miranda how to write the number eight. By the way, I had the pleasure of teaching her son, Johner (John) ‘92, when he was an eighth-grader.

Time for Connie, someone whose presence I feel every time I pass the ECLC building:

“ I can’t tell you how many times I have wished I could be five years old again and a kindergartner in Margaret Akolt’s class. Each and every child is special to her, and she accepts children as they are. She is honest, loving, and kind.

“ Margaret has come full circle since coming to Graland. She began teaching afternoon kindergarten in 1977 and established the pre-first program two years later. She then taught first grade for many years and returned in 1996 to her first love, kindergarten.

“There are many words to describe Margaret, but the most important is spontaneity. She can take any occurrence and turn it into a positive experience. Her natural, unflappable demeanor and honesty make her a wonderful mentor. . . to all.”

Graland Country Day School

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.