Students of the Year from GE
Last week our community’s sadness over the sudden death of beloved Dunbar teacher Kathy Krempely was mitigated to some extent by the beautiful funeral service where family and friends, colleagues and students, celebrated her life.
At the Bouverie Preserve that day with the current class of Junipers (junior naturalists), I was unable to attend Kathy’s service, but many people told me it was a healing ceremony where they learned about Kathy’s early difficulties that helped create the loving, passionately caring person that everyone at Dunbar knew.
Kathy was an only child whose mother and father both died when she was young; she was also a fifth-grader when her Chicago grammar school burned, killing 92 children and three nuns.
Kathy Krempely did not let these tragedies crush her. Her life became a testament to her resilience, courage, love and goodness.
My friend Sooni Kwon, whose two children, Jason and Sierra Pine, had Kathy as their second-grade teacher, shared the letter she wrote to the school after Kathy’s death.
A letter so moving, so true and so aptly describing Kathy, I was not surprised that Principal Melanie Blake read it at the funeral. Sooni ended her letter saying, “I am blessed that I had the chance to know her. We (Sooni and her children) believe there are many ‘mini Mrs. Krempleys’ out there who will use her inspiration to spread her passion to others.” Indeed she touched many lives.
Among those would certainly be the two Altimira Students of the Year. Both of these creative and talented students have connections to Glen Ellen.
First, former Dunbar student Annie Greenslade. Annie is the daughter of Joanna, an active school volunteer and Jon, a paramedic for the City of Sonoma. As an eighth grader at Altimira, Annie studies accelerated science and geometry as well as editing the school yearbook.
She also finds time to play soccer and she wrote a winning essay for the recent Veterans of Foreign Wars contest.
At Dunbar since first grade, Annie has many great memories of her time there including the fifth-grade melodrama, field trips to the beach, the well-known transportation field trip, father-daughter dance, and the Call of the Sea excursion, where they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Of course, her parents are very proud of her, but I’d guess her sister, Emily, and brothers, James and Robert, would agree Annie is pretty special.
The other Altimira Student of the Year is not a Dunbar graduate, but is happily connected with our town volunteering as a Juniper at the Bouverie Preserve.
I’m particularly proud of Thomas Gare. I “discovered” his love of nature when he visited the preserve with his family – mom, Karin, dad, Bob, and sister, Kristin – during one spring open house. I was immediately struck with Thomas’s attentive curiosity about the bird skins.
His questions were thoughtful and his awe was apparent. I nominated him for the Juniper program and he’s become an outstanding junior docent at the Bouverie working with mentor Anne Goodwin. Thomas has the keen and patient eye of a born naturalist and his photography project at Juniper graduation impressed me. His grandfather is well-known local artist Gunnar Anderson and his influence is apparent in Thomas’ work. Recently Thomas participated in Bouverie’s scientific newt count run by docent Louise Bielfelt.
But Thomas’ merit extends beyond his weekend involvement with the preserve.
He’s also an excellent student, involved in honor classes. Terry Roberts, a Glen Ellen resident and longtime teacher at Altimira said of him, “Thomas Gare was in both my technology elective and yearbook classes. He ranks among the top few students of my 25-year teaching career. Consistently, Thomas put forth his very best effort, which consistently resulted in excellent work. Without ever being asked, he offered to help, and without ever being told, he always did his work. When I think of Thomas, I think of integrity – not a common quality to own at his young age.”
Briefly: news just in. Two creative local artists are giving a one-day workshop at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Jane Antee and Katrina Mayo-Smith will be leading a class on making a personal treasure box, to give as a gift, to hold your dreams or contain wishes. Simple, easy and guaranteed fun. Register at svma.org or call 939-7862.
• • •
Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least three weeks before the run date.