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When it came right down to it, I had no desire to get up off my cozy bed, abandon my laptop, and head down to All American Public Schools’ employee appreciation banquet tonight.  Work life has been tough lately.  I wasn’t feeling too appreciated or too appreciative.  Plus, it’s raining.  And cold.

But duty called, so I woke up a napping Adventure Guy, changed into an appropriate “business casual” look and made sure he did too, and out we went.

As soon as we entered the ballroom, and I spotted all the familiar faces, I knew I’d made the right decision–well, that and the fact that I was on the program, so it would be pretty hard to explain an absence.  But looking around, I saw the custodian who cleaned my first classroom in the district, the daycare workers who staffed my kids’ afterschool program, the people receiving longevity awards that I remembered hiring what seems like only a few years ago, and the teachers who challenge my kids in the classroom each and every day.

All-American Schools finds itself blessed with dedicated, hardworking, brilliant staff members, including the teacher honored tonight for forty years of service to the district.  Yes, she started working there when I was a year old.  It’s hard for me to comprehend that kind of dedication.  Yet, I’ve worked there for 13 years and know I’m still thought of as “new.”  It’s that kind of place.  A place where you show up and plan to stay a few years and turn around only to find out you’ve been there a lifetime.

A lifetime of making a difference in children’s lives.  And, really, I can’t think of any better way to make a living.

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