Ax Family at TecumsehThere have been many special families and people in my teaching career; so making my list of 30 was extraordinarily difficult.  Valerie has been a constant in my teaching life; as a tech specialist who actually cared about making tech work for the user, to the parent of four terrific kids (3 of which I taught and all were counselors at Camp Tecumseh), and someone that I could talk to about raising daughters.

At work Valerie always wants to help make whatever problem you are experiencing go away.  She will uncover every stone to make something work; long after when most people would say, “It can’t be done”.  In the early days of yearbook, when creating a digital yearbook was just getting starting, Valerie was my MVP.  She figured out every Photoshop and PageMaker problem that I ran into.  She helped everything from infrastructure, to finding grants, to getting cameras fixed.  I know I burdened her, but she never complained and I probably never conveyed my appreciation to the level her help deserved.

Valerie’s kids were and still are a source of joy for me; from Danny’s plastic car medallion (he is wearing it in the above photo) and public reminder for daring to get ran over by a car when he was my student (potentially causing him to miss my class…a deadly sin); to Sarah building my lion/lamb box that is still used today; to Emily who was responsible for getting Joe Reitz his only school detention; and, finally, to Adrianne who is Valerie’s clone and was part of one of my favorite set of counselors ever (her photo climbing back up the hill to Black Hole during a snow storm is still part of our counselor training).

Box - Out of the Box Repaired


Lastly, I would like to thank Valerie for all the pep talks over the years about raising girls (still a mystery to me).  Her patience and support is a real kindness to me.  Her friendship has been one of my favorite parts of my teaching career.