Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving, 2017

This was the first Thanksgiving without Teresa.  We decided to do a small "celebration" with just Judy, Kerri, Chris and I.  Ken is flying so he won't be home.  

On Wednesday, Judy let me know that she got the final papers for selling 858.  She will go today and have them notarized and sent back and that will be it.  A new family will be moving into the house.    She feels it will be hard and I am glad I don't have to sign them.  She sent me the papers to look over for the closing.   Everything that has happened has made it real, but this truly is final. 

I made the dressing on Wednesday.  We are having turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, squash, salad and beer breed.  I always made my mom's recipe for candied sweet potatoes to take to the feast with the family.  I don't like it and no one else does, so I won't be making it for the first time in a long time.  

When I went to Sam's on Wednesday, I went by the very large table of pumpkin pies.  In the past, I always bought two them because Cameron loves them.  I didn't this year.  It will be the first Thanksgiving without him, too.  He and Patrick are going to one of Patrick's friends for dinner.  I am really glad that they are together and that Patrick has Cameron there for this holiday.

Wednesday night I decided to set the table.  I found a pretty tablecloth from Douglas and decided to put in on the table and get it set.  I got tickled when I put it on as their are "cigarette" burns on it from my mom.  I felt it was fitting.

I didn't get the good china out, but did get my nice "Irish" dishes and wine glasses from Germany that match the dinnerware.  

We had a very nice dinner and after called Patrick and Cameron.   Did a toast to Teresa.  Last year we had dinner here at my house as it was the day after Thanksgiving that we took her to live in the group home.   So last year's Thanksgiving and this have been bitter sweet.

I was hoping to sit outside with a fire, but it was still rather warm.  I put the turkey "carcass" in the big pot and will cook it over night for the annual turkey noodle soup that we will have tomorrow night.  It will cook overnight and make the house smell so good!!

I am thankful for many thing in my life.   I am so thankful for the my mom, Teresa, Johnny, Judy, Kerri, Patrick and Cameron and our extended family. And I always thought I was so fortunate to have my mom until I was 53 years old.  My Phoenix Scott family and Sacramento Park family lost their mom when many were very young.  And to think that I had my "other" mother, Teresa,  for 68+ years is absolutely a blessing and another reason for me to be thankful!!

I am also thankful for my many wonderful friends and the incredible career that I had as  a public school educator.  I am grateful that I am still able to serve the wonderful children, families, administrators, teachers and staff of GPS.   I am blessed!!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Basketball at it's finest--MHS vs. DRHS

On Tuesday, I  had the privilege to attend a basketball game between students with special needs from Mesquite High and Desert RIdge High at Mesquite.  It was so touching to watch these kiddos play basketball.  A couple of the Mesquite students had been my students at Gilbert El.

What was so touching to me was the support that the students got from the Mesquite students.  The band played, the cheerleaders cheered, both school mascots were there, and the two refs were MHS seniors on the varsity basketball team.  It was played during the students lunch hour and the gym was packed.  Students gave up their lunch time to be their to support their classmates and the kids from Desert RIdge.

As far as I am concerned, this is what it is all about!!! This makes all of the work that I have done in the past eleven months on the board so worthwhile!!  I am so proud of our wonderful District!!

Below is the story from Channel 3 about this game.  The video is wonderful but i wasn't able to download it onto this post.

It felt like a big playoff game at Mesquite High School in Gilbert Tuesday, with the band, cheerleaders and fired-up crowd. And that was the idea. "They don/t normally get an opportunity to play in front of a crowd of this magnitude," said coach Gloria Hernandez. "We really tried to make it as special as we could for them."

None of the players who took the court were star athletes, but they still showed plenty of passion finding the open shot.

The teams were made up of special needs students like Kiley Christiansen, who was getting a chance to show fans that their disabilities won't keep them down.
"It's kind of like showing off," said Christiansen. "It's like hey, we can do this, too."
"I always had this as my dream," said student Daniel Pizano. "I always dreamed of being on a team and now it's coming true."

This year's Unified basketball game was a back and forth battle between Mesquite High School and Desert Ridge High School, with parents on both sides... bursting with pride with every pass and drive to the hoop.

"They don't get a chance to watch their kids and share something like this," said special education teacher Angela Olberding. "We just wanted the kids to have that moment - have their kids at an event where the school is behind them."
"I thought it was amazing," said grandmother Tina Verdugo. "It was just amazing to see him play, to see all of them play, and all of them get a chance to do what most kids can do. It's their dream."

The game ended in a tie, but nobody seemed to care about the score. Both teams felt the thrill of victory in a game most players will never forget. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 17, 1961--Meeting JFK, LBJ and Honoring Carl Hayden

I waited until today to post this because it is the 54th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy--one of the worst days in our history.

In 1961,  Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona was being honored for 50 years in Congress. The dinner was held at the Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix.  My uncle, Tom, was there because Senator Hayden was his boss. The dinner was $100 a plate which was rather expensive in those days.

We planned to go to Phoenix to see Tom and Mary.  Then a friend of the family, Harry Ames, had a ticket and couldn't go so he gave it to Teresa.  I remember how excited she was to be able to go to this.

I was in seventh grade which would have made me 12.  I am hoping I can remember how this all happened as it was a very long time ago.

Tom and Mary were staying at the Westward Ho.   I remember going there on the day of the dinner to see them.  Somehow, we found out their was going to be a press conference that high school students were invited to attend.   My cousins, Marion and Teresa Ann, Judy (who was in first grade) went up to where the press conference was being held.   We talked to some men (they had to be Secret Service) and they let us go on up.  When we got up there, I remember telling the people at the door that I was a reporter for the Douglas High newspaper.  Teresa Ann was a year behind me in school, so Marion was truly the only plausible high school reporter.  Somehow, we got in.  

Marion knew some students at the press conference and they wanted to change places with us to be near friends.  That was great with us!!  We were in the front row, right by the cake.

We called Tom's room and told them where we were.  They didn't believe that we could be there.  My mom and Uncle Matt tried to get up where we were but couldn't get past the Secret Service!  

I will never forget when JFK, LBJ, and Senator Hayden walked in.  They were right by us.  If you look at the picture, you can see me right next to LBJ.  Teresa Ann was next to me and Judy was sitting on Marion's lap.  We were obviously the only little kids in the room!  JFK looked over at us and he winked at me.  I was thrilled beyond belief.  We got to shake his hand.

Everyone was making a fuss over Senator Hayden and the President.  LBJ was just standing there.  He looked over at us and we got up and started talking to him.  I remember him putting his arm around my shoulder and talking to us in such a kind way.

There were so many faces that I recognized in that room.  It was amazing and it truly was one of the absolute highlights of my life.

I have the picture, along with the autograph that Tom got for me from JFK, on a wall in my house.  I found the program from the dinner as well as the "Press Fact Sheet."  I also found "tickets" in Judy's name and mine to get us into the Corral Room.  I don't remember what that meant.
Over the next few days, I am going to post more about Senator Hayden and that wonderful day in November, 1961.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Another Story About My Mom at Loretto

After my post yesterday about my mom and her brother, Tom, I remembered another story.

When my mom was in about second or third grade, she got into some trouble with some other kids in her class.  The nun put everyone in a corner, but there weren't enough corners, so she put Margaret under her desk because she was tiny. 

This particular nun had a limp and she told the class that she had a wooden leg. So my mom "pinched" sister's leg to see if it was true and it wasn't.

After her "punishment" was over and she returned to her desk, she passed a note around the class telling the other students that Sister did not have a wooden leg because she had pinched it.  Needless to say, the note was intercepted.

Our grandfather was called and went to Loretto.  My mom told me that the principal asked her to leave for a few minutes and then had her come back in. At the time she didn't know why, but years later found out it was because the principal and Grandpa Scott got a bit of a laugh out of it.  Having been an elementary principal, I can tell you there were many occasions when this happened!

What spunk she had all of her life!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

My Mom and Her Big Brother, Tom!

I have been trying very hard to remember stories that I heard growing up and for some reason, this one came to mind earlier today.  I don't know why I haven't remembered it before.  It is one of my favorite stories about my mom. Growing up, I always wondered why she was so strict with me.  I was a fairly good kid and she was extremely strict with me.  When I became an adult, I realized it was because she was a bit of a "hellion" and so she wanted to make sure I wasn't.

My mom was born in October, 1917. Her brother, Tom, was born in January,1915.  So there was a little over 2 1/2 years difference in their ages. From what the stories I remember, Tom was a really nice boy and was not a fighter or aggressive at all.  He was just one of those nice kids. I am sure my mom was a nice kid, too, but she had a rebel streak in her that lasted her entire life.

The story that I remember was when Bill was born in 1925.   That would have made Tom almost 11 and mom about 8 so I am thinking third and fifth grades.  

At Loretto (even when I went there) there was a boys' playground on the east side and the girls' playground on the west side.  

The story goes that someone came over to the girls' side and told my mom that another student, also named Tom, was beating up her brother, Tom.  So my mom immediately went over to the boys' playground and basically beat up the other Tom.

My grandfather was called by the principal (nun) who had my mom in the office. Having been a principal, I can really relate to this story.  Apparently, Tom's parents came to the school to complain about him being beaten up.  So Sister brought my mom, who was tiny, out and let them see who had beaten up their "older" son.  It turned out that the other Tom was an only child and he was very upset about the Scott's having "another" baby, so he decided to take it out on Uncle Tom.  But Tom Scott was not a fighter so he got the worst end of the fight until Margaret showed up and she took care of him!!!

From what I heard, my mom didn't get into too much trouble with her parents other than a lecture about not fighting bigger boys and to let her brother stand up for  himself.

Those who knew my mom can truly understand how this happened.  She always stood up for what was right and she always stood up for family.  


Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Dirty Daisies

Friday night I met an old friend, Kay Benjamin, at Fibber Magees in Chandler.   We went there to listen to Irish music.  Kay and I taught together many years ago at Gilbert Jr. High.   Kay recently moved back to Arizona having lived in Colorado and Utah. Her daughter, Amy, was with her.  I think it has been over 20 years since I have seen her and we connected a few years back on Facebook. Actually, I connected with her husband, Charles, who has since passed away.  

We had so much fun during those years when our kids were little and we were young.   We had a tight group of friends and I feel fortunate to still have these wonderful people in my life even though I don't see them often.

We had so much fun together last night.  The Irish music was great .  Her birthday is today and she turns 76.  It doesn't seem possible that time has passed so quickly.

We danced and sang despite the fact that my dancing is certainly not the best and my singing is definitely not even good.

When I got home, i found my picture that I always kept in my offices through the years.    It is of the "original" Dirty Daisies.

Below is a post that I did before I retired in 2015 about memories from my career in education.

Still remembering my first years of teaching special education.   As I have said, I was at both Gilbert Elementary and Gilbert Junior during that time.   I had kids from fourth through eighth grades--sometimes self-contained some times just for reading or math.   I worked with some great people who became such good friends.   

The other day, Sue Dunning asked if I remembered the Dirty Daisies---Remember them, I was a "founding flower" of the Dirty Daisy Society!! It was such a fun time! One day, several of us heard that some of the male teachers belonged to a secret society called The Red, Red Rose. It was supposedly a national association and they were not allowed to talk about it. Well, you can imagine how we took off with this information.

Dawn Hughes, Martha Wallace, Kay Benjamin and I decided to start Gilbert's answer to the Red, Red Rose Society, aka as the Dirty Daisies.  So the Dirty Daisy Society was started.  We had bylaws, a slogan and even a t-shirt.  Our slogan was "some seeds sow weeds!" We expanded our membership and you had to be "voted" in to join.   I can tell you that any female teacher who wanted to be a Dirty Daisy could be one--we weren't that selective.

Later after I became an administrator, several of my admin buddies became "Dirty Daisies"--Connie, Nikki, Jill, Sherryl--just to name a few. One of the funniest times was when we were at an administrators' picnic and our wonderful supt, Wally, burned one of our t-shirts!!!

What great times we had during those years!!!  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Arizona School Personnel Administrators of the Year

On Thursday, I drove to Prescott to attend the evening celebration for the Arizona Association of School Personnel Administrators' Association.  The reason I went was because two of our wonderful administrators received Administrators' of the Year from the association--Shawn McIntosh and Missy Udall. They didn't know that they had been nominated nor that they had received the award.  I was invited because I had written a letter (below) on their behalf.

I got up there early afternoon and went for a walk and then looked around.  I stopped at the Prescott Brewery and had a beer.  While I was sitting there, in walked Shawn's wife, Alisha, and Kellie and Holly, their secretaries.   We were all there to surprise them.

I had such a good time with those three ladies.  We ended up going out to dinner before having to be at the ceremony at 7:30.  When we got there, we had to wait out side of the room until it was time for the award to be announced.   Missy's husband joined us as well as Shane, our new superintendent.   Shane couldn't stay as he had an early morning commitment, but he knew the importance of being there for this huge honor for Shawn and Missy and for GPS!

Makes me proud!!

October 4, 2017

Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association
Attn: Mr. Justin Wing
Washington Elementary School District
4650 W. Sweetwater
Glendale, AZ 85304

Dear Mr. Wing:

It is a privilege for me to write this letter of recommendation for Shawn McIntosh and Missy Udall to be co-recipients of the 2017 Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association Award.    

I was employed in Gilbert Public Schools for 39 years from 1971 until 2010.  During my tenure in GPS, I was Interim Director of Personnel for approximately 14 months before becoming an elementary principal.  I am mentioning this because I understand the complexities of this extremely important position in a District.

After leaving Gilbert, I spent five years as Superintendent of the Douglas Unified School District retiring in 2015.  I successfully ran for the Gilbert Governing Board in 2016.

Through my 45 plus years, I have had the privilege to work with many very talented administrators.  I consider Shawn McIntosh and Missy Udall as two of the best administrators that I have ever had the privilege to see in action.

I have known both Missy and Shawn since they were children.  They were both students at the elementary school where I was a teacher.  Missy and Shawn have a unique bond having been friends since elementary school.

During my time as a principal in Gilbert, I saw both of them as teachers.   Later we became colleagues as principals.  I had the utmost respect for their leadership at their respective schools.  Both of them had respect from their colleagues, teachers, staff, students and parents.

Both of them went to the District positions after I left.  My first year after I retired, I had the honor of substituting for a principal who was undergoing chemotherapy. That experience was an exceptional one and I was able to see first hand what Missy and Shawn are all about.  I have also interacted with both of them as Governing Board President.

Working in this particular department is probably one of the most difficult positions in a District. Much of their job is related to employees who are having some problems.  I have seen first hand that both of them treat each issue with empathy and compassion. However, sometimes these issues don’t turn out in the most positive light. Both of them understand this and they are able to make sure that each person is treated with dignity and respect no matter what.

GPS has suffered a number of years of turmoil for a variety of reasons.  Both Shawn and Missy stayed in the District and were extremely professional despite some very difficult situations.   When I was trying to make up my mind as to whether or not I would even run for the Board, Shawn and Missy were an absolute factor in my decision to run.  And that is because I believe that GPS needs quality administrators such as these two.  During this time of turmoil, both of them were “recruited” by other districts.  It would have been easy for them to leave, but they are dedicated to GPS.   And that is wonderful for GPS.

In the last four months, we have had new leadership in Dr. Suzanne Zentner, who has served as our Interim Superintendent.  Because of this transition in leadership, I have seen both Shawn and Missy be able to take off with their goals for our Office of Talent Management. I believe that their potential is unlimited.  With our new superintendent in place, I see great things to come from both of them.  They are truly a team and collaborate together.   Neither of them wants to take credit for anything—they just want to do what is best for the District.

Both of them are very involved in the community and many different levels.   Their work ethic is second to none.   They collaborate together and both of them have a unique vision and the talent to take this vision to fruition.

Once again, my 45 plus years of education have provided me the opportunity to work with many incredible administrators.   Shawn and Missy are two of the finest administrators ever.  I give both of them my absolute highest recommendation.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 520 368 2700 should you have any further questions.


Sheila Rogers
Retired Educator
GPS Governing Board President