Once a Titan, always a Titan

9 Oct

Most of you probably know that I retired at the end of last school year, after 20 years as a library teaching assistant.

I should qualify that statement a bit. I officially retired in June, but I’ve already been subbing in various buildings for 14 days. For those who are counting, that’s more than half of the school year so far. Many of the students (and staff members) in my old schools are beginning to look at me with puzzled expressions and asking, “I thought you retired?”

For most of those 14 days, I’ve been helping out in the elementary schools — especially Schlegel Rd. and Plank Rd. North — where I spent the last five years of my district career. But yesterday I filled in as a library teaching assistant at Webster Thomas High School. And I have to say, it felt like coming home.

I spent the first 15 years of my career as a T.A. in the Thomas library, and during my time there I made a lot of good friends. So one of the first things I did yesterday morning when I got to school was take a walk through the halls to see how many teachers’ names, posted over the doors, I still recognized. I was pleased to see that most of my former colleagues are still there, even after all this time. If I saw one of them at his or her desk, I popped my head in to say hi, and was invariably greeted by a big smile and a hearty “welcome back”!

It was a great day to be subbing at Thomas: Pep Rally Day, the rollicking culmination of Homecoming Week. This was always one of my favorite days of the year, when all the students would dress up in their class colors, decorate the halls, and come together at the end of the day for a boisterous, rowdy pep rally.

In previous years the rally took place in the gym, and the noise was deafening. This year for the first time, no doubt in deference to COVID-19, it was held outdoors in the stadium (fortunately the weather was gorgeous). The pep band performed, and mini-contests like Can-Jam and “who can scream the loudest” were played for class points. The noise was still deafening.

It was just like I remembered it. So much fun.

A lot has changed at Thomas in the last five years, most notably the library itself, which got a complete overhaul two years ago. But seeing the students again, walking down those halls again, it felt like I had never left.

It was truly a homecoming.

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