Sunday, May 20, 2018

Go Big or Go Home

As the school year comes to a close, so do the careers of several teachers and staff members that are retiring.  This week we will say goodbye to Cynthia Barbre, Debbie Brown, Tammie Mugrage, and Stan Phelps.  There will be many stories shared and tears shed as they embark on their lives after school. We will miss them dearly and our time with them has been so special.  It will be strange to come to work without them next year, but we all wish them the best on the next chapter of their lives!

Oh, but wait!  There's one more retiree.  This lady has been more than a boss to me.  She's been my teacher, my mentor, and above all, my friend.  Everyone knows her favorite saying is, "Go big or go home!"  I've heard her say it a million times.  I hear her voice when I make tough decisions.  Of course I'm talking about Ms. Z.  That's Diana Zurliene to those who don't know who I'm talking about, but how can you not know Z?  This blog post is dedicated to Ms. Z for all she's done for me.  Let me share why I am thankful to have had Z in my life.

My time with Z started in the fall of 1986.  She was my freshman science teacher and I loved her class.  She wrote me a pass out of study hall later on in high school so I could do my work in her office, and I would occasionally make a trip to Druthers to get breakfast.  (I assume the statute of limitations is up on that one!) She was also our class sponsor all four years so the Class of 1990 loved Ms. Z.  She helped us with floats ( first place every single year) and she always knew all of our music.  We thought she was the coolest.  The entire Class of 1990 has a special place for Ms. Z and we always invite her to our reunions.  I always think of her when I sing along with music my students know, and they are surprised I know their songs.  Z called me to tell me when Bon Jovi was in St. Louis on their last tour so if that doesn't prove she's my friend, then I don't know what else can.

When Ms. Z became my boss nine years ago, I was ecstatic.  I have loved working for her.  Her door has always been open and every single time I've had a problem, she's helped me with it.  She's been the best to work with all of us when we need to be with family.  She tells us to go do what we need to do without hesitation.  I went to her to tell her I needed surgery a few years ago and I was terrified.  She picked up the phone as I sat there crying and she took care of the arrangements that were needed for me to take time off.  She told me to take the time that I needed to get myself well.  That meant the world to me.

Ms. Z has been so good to us at District 112.  She makes sure we are fed for every holiday and she gives us all a special Christmas card every year. We play Bingo for our Christmas parties and she calls the numbers.  She's so much fun and I already miss her setting up the "snow pool" to see if we will have any snow days next year!

  I've always been able to express myself better with writing, so Ms. Z, this is my goodbye to you.  I will treasure the time that you have been in my life.  You've been a part of my life since 1986 as my teacher, my kids' principal, my boss, and my friend.  It will be hard to not see your smiling face every morning saying good morning to me or high fiving my students.  I'm sure I'll be crying on Thursday as we all say our goodbyes.  As you go into the next chapter of your life, GO BIG OR GO HOME.

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