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The other day when I was signing at Barnes & Noble a young boy stopped by with his parents. He was wearing a t-shirt that said, Harrison Huskies on it. He’s in 4th grade at the school that bears my name. Other Harrison students, present and past, also came to say hello. Each and every time I meet a young person who tells me he or she goes to Harrison I’m thrilled all over again. The school opened in 2009 so by now there are many Harrison graduates around the city and it’s not unusual for someone to tell me they used to go there.
I always visit David Harrison Elementary at least once every year and sometimes take visitors there so they can see the school. Many were there for the grand opening when I gave a speech. Kent and Jody Brown
flew in from Highlights to be there. So did my pal Deanna Schuler
from Warrensburg. My family was there, including my mother who was in a wheel chair by then.
In the eight years since the school opened the oldest students at the time are now seniors in high school. Soon they will be spreading their wings, flying off to college or to jobs, marriage, life. Wherever I go around town in public places, I stand a little straighter, wondering if someone in the room went to “my” school. Not many people get turned into buildings. Believe me, we buildings are always aware of the privilege we’ve been given.
Do you have any idea how I love typing the name of that school? On Thursday I attended an assembly at which the Missouri State University In-School Players, under the direction of Michael Frizell, himself a well known, gifted, and professional actor, performed materials selected from my poetry and stories for young people. It was a WOW on a scale of 10.
Sandy attended with me. The kids waved and grinned. Many came up later for hugs and high-fives and hurried whispers. It does not get better than that.
Thank you, Michael. Thank you, In-School Players: Nick Oswalt, Cassidy Flynn, Lyric Arvizu, Zoe Zelonky, Kendrick Hooks, Annie Lewis Lay, Melanie Humphrey, Hannah Katherine Green, and Sarah Rebottaro.
A special thanks to Harrison principal Christine Mendel. Chris, you always make me feel welcome.
Today is a good day for me. I’ll visit Robberson Community School, Springfield’s first year around elementary school, to talk to grades 3-5 students from 10:15-10:45 and K-2 students from 10:55-11:20.
From 1:00-1:45 the Missouri State University IN-SCHOOL PLAYERS will perform a play based on the body of my work as part of this year’s 16-school tour.
My thanks to Community School Coordinator Christian Mechlin and Principal Kevin Huffman for arranging my visit to Robberson and to MSU’s Michael Frizell for working with the IN-SCHOOL PLAYERS. I look forward to the day!