Most of my memories of my education at Lagunitas School were only possible because I had so much face time with my teachers. As a result, I remember them and the personalized challenges they gave to me in each year. I can remember learning how to read, play mancala, and how we studied herpetology in kindergarten (Janet Clover had a python). I reminisce with a smile about getting laughed at in a game about fruits and vegetables when everyone else got apples and broccoli and my fruit had to be a “date.” My first and second grade teacher, Alice, challenged me in a number of aspects of my Montessori education, from learning multiplication to dealing with other kids to having more discipline in taking care of homework and staying focused in class. I look back on third grade with Katie Rasmussen, the year that Pokemon cards swept the world, as one of the most fun years of my life, no matter how often we debated the merits of banning them from the lower campus. Molly Whitely whipped me into middle school shape and got me through the incredibly intimidating fifth grade portfolio and autobiography projects. I was lucky enough to have enough one-on-one time with these teachers to develop strong memories of my time with them. While I can name all of my teachers in elementary school, some of most vivid, and not coincidentally, most recent memories come from my time in middle school. Bonnie Nackley managed to speak to sixth graders with the respect that made us feel confident enough to discuss sex ed and current events. In seventh and eight grades, we were able to study in small class sessions with Patti Blanton to learn the finer points of quadratic equation.
It’s hard to encapsulate how Lagunitas shaped me, but I can say, after looking back, that I always appreciated the efforts that the school and the families made to have communal events. There were so many events and after school activities led by members of the community. I knew, and was known by so many people that I never felt like just another student. After Sir Francis Drake High School I went to school at the University of Chicago and now I live in NYC., but wWhat I miss is any sense of community. I miss having people outside of my immediate circle who actually cared about me. Lagunitas School was a great place for families to connect to with other families and for kids to meet an assortment of people in the community. Because of them, for better or for worse, as I went through high school, I wanted to be a part of everything: sports, environmental activism, piano, chess, Spanish, art, etc. It took a while to learn that sacrifices had to be made, but at least I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to explore a huge array of topics while at Lagunitas.
I’m worried that the Valley is changing. Maybe I’m falling out of touch myself, but I am concerned that there isn’t as much of community spirit within each village town. I couldn’t think of a better way to build town pride and get the school’s families together than through the Valley Games. Measure A works towards the same goal. The school builds community by starting with the children. The school provides your standard education but it also allows kids to learn from both teachers and other leaders in the community. Measure A lines up a series of relatively hefty increases. However, for anyone who values the potential that the measure’s that funding provides for the quality of education and for the valley community as a whole, it is worth it. For that reason, I support Measure A.