Although we were Andover residents for 25 years, we now live in Kittery, Maine, which made my commute to High Plain Elementary School a long one as compared to my former “commute” from our home in West Andover when I could walk to work.
I saw the photo posted in the Townsman of me in a kayak at my retirement celebration. This was the first time in my paddling career that I was without two essentials: a paddle and water, and I was without my personal flotation device, which I wear at all times when I am in the ocean kayaking the Seacoast. However, this was one of my most memorable kayaking experiences, since the staff and students at HPE managed to surprise me, while making me feel like a rock star for a day.
My co-teacher, Mrs. Krieger and I, made Mardi Gras masks with our students for what I was told would be a Mardi Gras assembly. I did not anticipate becoming the Mardi Gras “queen,” and the center of many accolades, which included a slide show of computer-generated artwork by the students with our media/library specialist, Mrs. Fegan; three musical renditions created by the students with Mrs. Giguere; a skit put together by our physical education teachers, Ms. Pennell and Mrs. Shiff about a day in the life of Mrs. Wish; a scroll of student artwork with my co worker, Mrs. Kreiger, and more, where our principal, Ms. Lathrop, presented me with an assortment of interesting items I might need for my “retirement.”
A finale to this spectacular event was the presentation of an easel, created from paddles, which was signed by everyone at High Plain Elementary School. I’m happy that someone had the foresight to toss a box of tissues in the kayak with me, since I was shedding a few tears while riding high on this very emotional “Big Kahuna” of a wave that I will be riding for a very long time.