Saturday, 26 November 2022

Wetherbee: In support of Larry Allen for MUSD School Board

My family relocated from Reno, Nevada, to the Cobb area in the summer before my fifth grade year.

I am not proud to admit that I was a terrible student with a lousy attitude toward school. My teachers, up to that point, were often frustrated with me, and were quick to label me “retarded.” Their word, not mine. Simply put, I hated school.

I provide this little bit of backstory to highlight the influence that Larry Allen had on me at a time in my life which was tumultuous and difficult for me.

In Mr. Allen’s class, I would undergo a transformation that would change how I felt about school. Mr. Allen’s classroom was unlike anything I had seen up to that point. It was filled with animals, books and art. More importantly, Mr. Allen treated me differently than any teacher had up to that point.

Mr. Allen did not approach me as a subordinate student who was expected to do exactly what he was told, when he was told to do it. Instead, he treated me like I was an interesting human being who needed a little help understanding the world around me.

He had conversations with my mother in Hardester’s about how I was doing in school and listened to her when she explained some of the challenges she had with me. On days that I was unruly or aggressive, he would take the time to find me something constructive to work on. On days that I was quiet and detached, he would recommend a good book for me.

For the first time in my life, I had an educator who was more interested in finding ways to engage me than ways to ensure that I stood in line and stayed quiet. Mr. Allen was the right teacher at the right time.

I am proud to say that my year with Mr. Allen was the very first time in my life that I got an “A” on my report card. It was the first, and only, time that I had perfect attendance for the school year. More importantly, it was the first time in my life that I actually wanted to go to school.

I went on to graduate from Cobb Elementary, Middletown Middle School and Middletown High School. I served in the United States Navy, earned my college benefits and used them to attend, and graduate from college.

Today, my son is a student at Cobb Elementary. Nothing would make me happier than my son having an opportunity to experience Mr. Allen as a teacher. Of course, that isn’t possible as Mr. Allen retired from teaching.

However, I can think of no better representative for the Middletown Unified School District Board than a retired teacher who actually cares about kids. You know, someone who truly dedicated themselves to the education of children.

Craig Wetherbee lives in Cobb, California.

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11.26.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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26Nov
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26Nov
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29Nov
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3Dec
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Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
3Dec
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6Dec
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Rotary Club of Middletown

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