Bonnie Henry: C.E. Rose made it happen for me, too

2012-05-20T00:00:00Z 2014-07-01T17:02:15Z Bonnie Henry: C.E. Rose made it happen for me, tooBonnie Henry Special to The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

You done good. When I read the other day that C.E. Rose K-8 School had won a national education award for excellence, I just about busted my buttons.

You see, many moons ago, C.E. Rose was my school. Went there from first through sixth grade - long before they added kindergarten. Just this year it became a K-8 school, reportedly at the pleading of parents who "didn't want to send their children elsewhere."

To me, that signals strong parental involvement - the kind that helps push a school up from a state failing grade in 2003 to being only one of seven elementary schools in the country to receive the award, courtesy of the National Center for Urban School Transformation, based at San Diego State University.

Credit also goes to Rose principal-for-nine-years Stephen Trejo, who has gotten both teachers and students to buy into the notion that "the C.E. Rose neighborhood can achieve anything."

Yep, that was certainly the case when I went to Rose back in the 1950s. Never mind that we lived in what was already being labeled a "poor south-side neighborhood." We had teachers who expected the best. From each of us.

Every year, my teachers would visit my home and talk with my parents. And woe unto me if I ever got in trouble at school. Only happened once, after someone reported that I and a little boy had thrown rocks at each other on the way home from school.

The next morning, I was summoned to the office of Principal R.O. Edmonds, a man right up there in my estimation with the boogeyman. One stern talking-to later, I was sent back to class. Needless to say, I never threw another rock, at least not toward any of my peers.

Still, most of my memories of C.E. Rose are happy ones. Of playing the maracas to "La Cucaracha" during our spring recital, even though I secretly yearned to be one of the dancing cockroaches.

Of going on field trips to the symphony and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Of getting a shiny new badge pinned to my belt during the safety patrol meetings in the school cafeteria.

But mainly I remember my teachers and the lessons they instilled in me - lessons that would become the underpinnings of all I would know, all I would become.

I still remember sitting at the feet of Mrs. Disbrow, my first-grade teacher, as she read a story to us, realizing that this was the day I was going to start learning how to read.

I remember Miss Stone, who, with only a tennis ball and a light bulb from an unshaded lamp, taught us how the Earth revolved around the sun, changing day into night with a mere turn of a tennis ball.

And I remember Mr. Stanley, who every Friday morning played his collection of Burl Ives records for us, trying to teach us to love folk music as much as he did - him strumming his guitar, us warbling out, "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care."

It's a different world now and a different neighborhood for the kids at C.E. Rose. I realize that. So do others. Undoubtedly that's why in 1998, Tucson Rotarians (from six different clubs) partnered with the University of Arizona to promise free tuition to the school's third-graders, all 101 of them. Last year, the first two from that class graduated from the UA. Others will surely follow, not only from that class but from subsequent ones.

C.E. Rose School, I have no doubt, will help see that it happens. Just as it happened for me.

Bonnie Henry's column appears every other Sunday. Contact her at Bonniehenryaz@gmail.com

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