I have always been proud of our family roots--both in Ireland and in southeastern Arizona. My great grandparents, Matthew and Ellen Roughan, moved to Bisbee, Arizona in 1903. Matthew was a miner and copper was discovered here. My grandparents, Edward and Katherine Scott, joined them in Arizona in 1912--the year Arizona became a state. My grandparents moved to Douglas as my grandfather went to work on the railroad.
When I started teaching at Patterson Elementary School in Gilbert, I decided to take my students on a field trip to Bisbee and Tombstone. I was able to work this into my curriculum as there were not the standards that are required today. I was able to make this a part of language arts, social studies, science, etc. I remember the first year that I asked to go on this trip. No other elementary teacher had ever asked the Governing Board to take an overnight field trip. So I had to go before the Board and explain why I wanted to do this. The Board approved it and thus began an annual trip with my class.
We visited Tombstone and Bisbee and spent the night in the gym at Bisbee High School. I was able to share my heritage with my students. It was an incredible trip and I think I did this trip for about 10 years.
After I became a principal, our sixth grades did their science camp trip down here. This was before science camp became more formalized. Then one of my wonderful teachers started bringing her class down here. By that time, Bisbee no longer allowed students to stay in the gym. I arranged for them to stay at an elementary school in Sierra Vista.
Then my wonderful daughter, Kerri, became a fourth grade teacher. She decided to take her class on this trip. Kartchner Caverns had just been discovered right about the time I quit teaching. My dream at that time was to be able to have the kids see nature made (Kartchner) and man made (Bisbee Mine Tour), but that never happened for me.
Last year, all of the fourth graders at her school did the trip. I arranged to have them stay at the middle school here in Douglas that is close to our house. I hosted Kerri's class at the house, but arranged for pizza for the other classes.
This year, the students in Gilbert became pen pals with fourth graders at one of our elementary schools. So this meant that I had to host three different nights of kids meeting each other. It was incredible!!! We had bean burros, salsa, and hot dogs and many kids. It was so much fun to see the groups of children getting to know each other.
Last Thursday (May 3), was Kerri's class's visit. She asked me to get tamales for her parents, which I did. We had a wonderful barbecue in the backyard. One of the neatest things that happened was a visit from Ray Borane. Ray is a very close old family friend and the middle school is named after him. The kids got to meet him. Most schools are named after people after they die so it was so cool for them to meet Ray.
I have had many experiences that I never even thought would happen since I have been here. This was one. I posted a picture on Facebook and probably my most favorite comment was from one of my former third graders as to what a great trip it was.
Education is so much more than testing!! It is about relationships, getting along and building community. I saw what a great community Kerri has built in her classroom as the parents were having such a good time in the backyard and stayed until quite late. And the kids were great!!!
This is why I am still an educator 41 years later............... I just realized last week it has been this many years. WOW!! I could not have ever asked for a better career--despite what the politicians want to do to our educational system!!