Cate

By Frank Workman | Jun 24, 2015
Photo by: Frank Workman Cate Archipley looks to the future after teaching 20 years at Shorecrest High School. She is the wife of Publisher Paul Archipley and co-owner of Beacon Publishing.

It wasn’t going to be that big a deal.

It was going to be just another Last Day of School, even though it was her last Last Day of School.

For twenty years she’d been rudely awakened to a much-too-early alarm clock; fought the ever-increasing freeway traffic that forced said alarm to be set earlier and earlier over the years; dealt with ever-increasing class sizes (and no pay increases the last few years); and tried her damnedest to overcome some of her students’ apathy, to get them to appreciate, if not love, the English language as much as she does.

She wasn’t going to miss any of this.

She’d already said her goodbyes to colleagues, and been on the receiving end of a school-wide standing ovation at the year’s final assembly.

She couldn’t wait for her life’s next chapter to start.

With an early dismissal time, she could take the last day in stride and not even break a sweat.  The last assignments had long since been reviewed, grades turned in, even the final edition of the school paper she oversaw had been published and put to bed.

But then a student came into her room, and with tears in his eyes, he thanked her for her help during the school year. Others expressed the same sentiment to her. And they moved her.

English, not math, has always been her strong suit, but still, she was good enough with numbers to begin to calculate just how many lives she had impacted over twenty years.

She realized that what she will miss are the students, the names and faces changing from one year to the next, but the youthful exuberance, passion, and optimism - never.

She remembered students who had graduated, moved on, attained various measures of success, who still came by to say hello and pay their respects to their favorite teacher.

It’s a good thing traffic was light and the pavement dry on the drive home that afternoon, because her eyes brimmed with tears and her mind was surely elsewhere.

Her future will quickly collide with the past, and she will soon have a replacement for her love of her students and teaching, as a grandson is due any day now.

Mrs. Archipley will be every bit as great a grandma as she’s been a teacher.

And that child will probably grow up reciting entire verses of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, meeting deadlines, and knowing to never let his participles dangle.

There's no question about it.

Frank the Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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