‘We miss your facts’, a student at my school crossing post offered. ‘Well, here’s something, did you know that President Abraham Lincoln had a great sense of humor?’ No, she didn’t and neither did other students. I didn’t, either, until I recently read* more about Lincoln.
‘His pictures always show him looking sad or serious’, another commented. ‘Well, he was often sad and serious. He had much to be both sad and serious about in his life’.
One can get a potpourri of facts by reading.
This is the stuff we talk about at the Curbside Classroom. Facts. But there’s more. And the kids love the ‘more’.
He changed the world for the better. Dr. Jonas Salk did that. I was working on March 26th and reminded the kids about Dr. Salk and his successful research into developing a polio vaccine on this date in 1953. We discussed what we could in the very brief time before crossing.
Tying the polio epidemic and the successful vaccine then, when I was a kid, to the Covid-19 pandemic, I thought, was interesting for the kids, as well as a couple of teachers or adults who happened to benefit from crossing at the Curbside Classroom, that day. Understanding that events in history often repeat themselves was a good lesson. And to have an eye witness, me, who experienced the anxieties of both, tell them about it, was a plus.
Some of these kids are graduating this year and it’s exciting to see them planning their future. It’s been a challenging year because of the pandemic but kids are resilient and they seem to have handled it fine, for the most part.
I like to think that the Curbside Classroom helped them kick start their days. I hope it will be a fond memory, as they continue along a successful Life journey and maybe, just maybe, change the world for the better.
Congratulations, Class if 2021!
* Team of Rivals’ by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin