Ray Eslinger’s official title was Director of Buildings and Maintenance, a term he probably shunned -- and the school used rarely in deference to the man who once told me, “I maintain.” I do believe he was the essence of pernoctation. I could arrive at Graland at 5:30 in the morning-- he was there. Saturday morning -- he was there. Sunday afternoon--he was there. Usually, he was surveying his kingdom, Graland School, marking down in his head what he needed to do that day and days following, while still making time to chat with faculty and his staff.
Since he had come to Graland in 1951, he shared many stories about lumninaries like Georgia Nelson, Madame Guiberteau, Ruth Gorham; also, he loved talking about his beloved Ruby who had served as the school’s cook for many years. I especially enjoyed his memories of living in the basement of the first Georgia Nelson Building.
Kay Hanson and Taylor Kirkpatrick ‘88 both wrote their thoughts for the first Master Teachers’ reception:
“From building walls in classrooms to building the goldfish pond in the old Georgia Nelson Building, from giving donkey cart rides to students to leading numerous Halloween parades, Ray was one of the most loyal employees Graland has ever had. Always ready to do whatever was needed on campus, with a smile and twinkle in his eye, Ray is one of the most gentle, caring, humble individuals one would ever hope to meet.”
As a student, Taylor noticed, “Everything was seamless in the overcrowded school with a finite amount of space. The Little Theatre had no chairs and no tables for assembly, and later it magically had both. The cafeteria tables out when they shouldn’t have been, and the grounds were raked, shoveled, and trimmed in good time. To me, Mr. Eslinger represents good ideas executed well.”
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.