Yesterday I took a trip down memory lane and revisited my old high school, McNally. I’ve been back a few times since graduating in 2001, but yesterday’s trip had a very specific purpose – I went to congratulate my old principal, George Rice, on his retirement. I found out this was his last year a few months ago via Megan who has been teaching at McNally this year. Helps to have people on the inside
I passed the news along to a few friends including Sharon who suggested we get former students to sign a card for George. As those of you with Facebook know, that project started a month ago or so. Megan arranged to have a small item added to yesterday’s staff meeting, and Sharon and I took the card to present to George along with Megan and Anna (another graduate from my year who is teaching at McNally). We managed to get at least one graduate from each year since 1997 sign the card, which I thought was pretty amazing. This was his 14th year as principal at McNally, and I know there are students from each year that are grateful he was their principal.
Walking into the staff meeting was kind of neat – there are a lot of teachers there that I remember, and they clearly remembered us. Nice to see people smile when you enter the room! Megan and I said a few words, and a few of the ladies shed some tears. George smiled and thanked us, shaking my hand and giving Sharon a hug. A few stories were shared, and then we let them finish the staff meeting. We walked around the school a bit too – it looks mostly the same except for the courtyard which is beautiful! You can see pictures here.
You might think it’s odd that I would be so interested in going back to see my high school principal, but I don’t. I spent a lot of time in the office during my three years at McNally, for both good and bad reasons! I was heavily involved in Students Union (finishing as Co-President with Sharon), I was the student rep on School Council, and I was McNally’s student rep for the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee. Bad reasons include conflicts with teachers, and things I’d rather not mention Needless to say, I saw a lot of Mr. Rice and developed a good relationship with him.
Generally speaking, I don’t think we realize or appreciate the effect someone has had upon us until it’s too late to thank them for it. I know George had a positive impact on me, always providing encouragement and leadership. I am glad I had the opportunity to thank him for it.
In case you’re wondering, George isn’t taking much time off! He’s planning to take a short vacation and then he’ll be making a bid to become a school board trustee. I wish him all the best!