Farewell Letter To Orchard | Karen Dean - 35 Years
My oldest child entered kindergarten at Orchard in 1978 when Gordon Thompson was Head of School. I came as a new parent ready to volunteer and be involved in the school life. Little did I know that I would eventually work in the library and become a part of the Orchard community for such a long time. It has been a gift to work in a position that gave me the opportunity to know students and teachers across the entire school. Being an advisor, teaming in 6th-grade language arts and writing, and traveling to Japan on a teacher exchange are just a few of the wonderful experiences that have enriched my life in incomparable ways.
There is never a dull day around the children, and I love the spontaneity and enthusiasm they bring to their learning. Teasing out of students exactly what they’re looking for is like solving a puzzle at times. The delight they exhibit if I can find just what they’re asking for makes my day.
I am continually awed at the creative ways teachers provide students such amazing learning experiences. It has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated educators throughout my years at Orchard. I have loved partnering with them and having them as friends. They are at the heart of what Orchard was and continues to be.
When I think of Orchard, I also remember all the families I have known over the years. There are so many parents and grandparents I’ve enjoyed knowing and who give an incredible amount of time to support Orchard in a myriad of ways.
In several books I've read to classes, authors talk about how one can be happy and sad at the same time, and that is most assuredly how I feel. Although I will miss the children and their energy, connecting with families, and especially those I’ve worked with for so long, I am definitely looking forward to spending more time with my own family. Paraphrasing a line from a children’s book, when one story ends, another begins. I’m ready to start that new story.
With great fondness and appreciation,
Earlier this month, Karen finished reading to a group of third grade students and told them this would be her final year at Orchard. Sadness filled the room as every student jumped up to give her a hug. To say Karen will be missed is an understatement. Those pictures and more are below.