Tribute to a School

on the occasion of my son’s eighth grade graduation


When you have a brand new baby

and your mom dies the first week of kindergarten

you never forget the steady presence

of Ellen

with gratitude lodged in your heart forever


And when that same kindergartener

moves to first grade

you thank HIS lucky stars that it’s


because no matter how distracted he is

she’ll find a way to love him


And when the classrooms change and


is his teacher for a fourth year in a row

it’s no matter-

for he is more alive as a learner than ever!


And though, like most parents,

you fear the demands of


you watch your son take charge of himself and his work

with a glad heart

–and yours tugs when it’s time to leave

though surprisingly he is ready


Ready and eager to move closer to the doors

that lead out of Marlboro Elementary

And there, like a butterfly

he transforms from a child to a young man

with confidence & VOICE

and you hardly think on teachers anymore

because in their art,

the learning has become his


Rachel & Tim

could be the names of anyone

who has traveled the months or years or even a lifetime

on the path of his education

like the preschool faces of Timmy & Zoe and Ferne


And you can’t help but flash on all those named and unnamed-

board members and budget voters and volunteers

parents & friends, coaches & subs

ALL those who have caressed his movement along the learning way

like the tiny cilia moving an egg toward its fullest EXPRESSION~


Mr. H, a lifeline, since day one

and Charlene’s music and dancing, from age 2

and Lauren with her smile

and there’s Pedro & Pam, David Tasgal & Ann, Nurses Susan and Whitney

PE Instructors-Cindy to Wendy to Trowell to Chris

Custodians Wayne to Tim

Principals Connie to Craig to Francie

Johnnie and Kirsten

Joanne to Janie & Christine

and all the precious classroom assistants

who made it possible for a kid who preferred blocks until 7

to learn to read in HIS own time

so that now we must rip the books from his hands

to remind him to eat and to do chores and to talk

when once—TALKING– was all he did!


And was it poor Judy? or Jodi?

who gave the month of March over to reading and no other pursuit

so that the words he once put OUT

FINALLY began to POUR in


And his classroom became

Cape Cod & New York

Costa Rica & DC

and marches on Capitols

lining up for rallies

door to door for a President


Leading to this moment

where we find him


READY to VAULT through the EXIT

of “old” MES

under the careFULL gaze of Gail


And home he’ll come one last time

through yellow doors

delivered safely once by Laura, forever by Gail and seamlessly on toward Jackie.


I know now

that it takes a VILLAGE

to raise a child.

I’m so glad that I chose YOURS!


In gratitude for my son’s 12 years of education in Marlboro, Vermont

 with special mention to Paul Redmond at Meetinghouse (Pre) School where it all began.  

Kelly Salasin, May 2009

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