My Family and I were out to dinner while on vacation on the Outer Banks, in North Carolina. It's one of our favorite places, called Food Dudes. It's located basically in a strip mall and it is fantastic food, with a wonderful staff!
After we were seated at one of the tables by the front, we ordered and I noticed a minivan in the parking lot. It had a green license plate, and it wasn't Colorado. What are the odds that someone from Vermont was here in North Carolina? I looked further at the plate and saw it had the red and white "header" delineating a first responder. After squinting a little I was able to read it. The lettering said, "Assistant Fire Chief Montpelier Vermont." It was the car belonging to the Quinn family, Shelley and Jim, and their children Aidan and Natalie - a family from Montpelier Public Schools.
Well, I thought, they're probably going into another store in this plaza. And then Shelley walked into Food Dudes and put their name in for a table.
Well, I thought, they're probably going to be seated somewhere on the other side of the restaurant. I'll stop over and say hi when we're getting ready to leave. And then the table right next to us got up to leave.
The Quinns were sitting right next to us, and even so I didn't want to say anything right away. But just when they were getting ready to place their order, I heard Natalie whisper to her mom: "Mommy, that guy over there looks like Dr. Ricca, and he sounds like Dr. Ricca, but it can't be Dr. Ricca because he's not wearing a tie!"
I introduced My Family to the Quinns and introduced the Quinns to My Family. We chatted for a little while and then we each enjoyed our meals. On our way out, the Quinns told us it was their first time in the Outer Banks, so we shared some of our favorite places, besides Food Dudes, and said good-bye.
It is a gift that I serve a single board in Montpelier Public Schools. Because of that, I am able to spend a great deal of quality time in classrooms, offices and buildings in our district. I'm proud that students know who I am and recognize me, even when I'm not wearing a tie! One of the only things that makes me feel old these days, besides my eyesight, is hearing the grades that students are in. Students that were in first grade when I began serving in MPS are now in seventh, and students that were in sixth grade when I began, are now seniors in high school!
I'm grateful to see smiling student faces when I'm not on campus, and I'm proud that Natalie, Aidan, Shelley, and Jim knew who I was when we bumped into each other more than 750 miles away from Montpelier! Education is a human endeavor and is built on how we treat each other. The trust between children and adults is critical to our success, no matter how far away from home we are.