Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Elementary School Reunion - Celebrating a Special School 40 Years Later

On a cold, rainy, Sunday evening about 40 former students of the Fisher Elementary School, Walpole, MA joined 7 former teachers to celebrate an incredible time in their lives at the first ever Fisher Elementary School Reunion.  These teachers and students all attended the elementary school between the years of 1971 - 1981.  In attendance were siblings, former camper/counselor, neighbors and friends.  While for some it may seem this was a trip down memory lane - for most it was a way to celebrate a special school, special educators and a special decade.

Paul Sowden, Pam Nobel, Ellie Muldoon, Tom Monaghan, Judy Donovan, Sue Kelly, Sue Gillam
It all started back in 2011 when Tom Monaghan, my former sixth grade teacher started a group on Facebook: "Students of Fisher School 1971-1981."  It didn't take long for former students and teachers to join.  (I think the group is up to 266 members and growing!).  Read about it here:  Social Media for Educators - Forty Years Later.

My Grade 3 Reading Teacher & Me
Conversations occur almost daily on the Facebook Group.  Recently, one of the conversations surrounded the idea of a "reunion".  Ron Spicer (Fisher class of '74) decided to do more than talk - he quickly organized the reunion (from his home in St. Louis).  He found a function room at a restaurant in the town.  He put out an all call for photos and memorabilia and created a slideshow.  He created a form to survey former school members and prepared name tags.  In two short weeks a "Fisher School Reunion" was born.

One of the many highlights of the evening included a game. One of our beloved teachers, Suzanne Hopkins Gillam, recreated her famous Quiz Show (which, back in the day it was rather revolutionary) based on Fisher trivia questions.  She even brought along her Quiz Show Buzzers!  Coins were given to teams who answered correctly! The team with the most coins received the coveted "Fisher School Trivia" Certificate.


My Trivia Team Captain (Sue Pollak-Kelly)
Throughout the evening some common themes emerged: "I'm here because I wanted to say Thank You!"   "I'm here because Fisher School set a strong foundation for me!"  "I'm here because I remember those days fondly".    Former students shared stories about their teachers and shared the difference these teachers made in their lives!  Former teachers shared the behind the scenes stories about that special time and how connected they felt to students and their families. (These were, after all,  the kind of teachers we invited to dinner, who played games with us at recess, who have attended our weddings - who were truly the Rockstars of that time!). 

I think Carol Reardon Hawk summed it up the evening best with her following post on FB:

"All I can say is if you ever have an opportunity to go back in time....do it! Had an incredible night of reminiscing and laughs with elementary school classmates and teachers!! Couldn't miss the opportunity to get a photo with my 4th grade, 5th grade and 6th grade teachers" Carol Reardon Hawk - Fisher Class of '78


Of course we are all looking forward to the NEXT Fisher School Reunion!  I know with more planning time and word of mouth - it will be even better attended.

Thank you Ron Spicer and Tom Monaghan and thank you Facebook for keeping us connected!


 

6 comments:

  1. I think this is great. I recently have been trying to locate and re connect with the people I grew up in Walpole. Hope you all had a blast.
    Vinny Palmieri

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  2. How wonderful Nancy. It is great seeing the pictures of the teachers that I admired when you and your Siblings were at Fisher School. I will always remember Mrs. Gillam at our house playing outside with you kids. Mom

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  3. I had a terrific time and it was so great to see everyone from my home town and school again. The trivia game was so much fun and I learned a lot of cool things about my teachers and some very surprising things too. Thank you Ron Spicer and I can't wait to do it again and have even more people come next time!! Great Blog Nancy, it's the first one I've ever done!!

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  4. I was unable to attend the reunion because I was out of town. I hope there is another one next year! I really enjoy the Facebook group. I loved Fisher School and all of the great teachers I had there. I am lucky enough to work as a tech support person in the middle schools in Walpole and I what I see is teachers still making a difference everyday!

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  5. Nancy. I am sure you are the teacher you are in part because of some of those teachers from the Fisher. High Five to Ron Spicer for organizing that from out of state!

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  6. Very sweet. People become like family in a school setting.
    Teaching Science With Lynda

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