"When I was in 5th grade...
It was a very good year."
You know those classes where everyone is friends with everyone?
That was Mr. Alguire's 5th grade class.
I don't remember why, but we idolized him. And he used that to push us far in our studies.
Most of us learned so much math then that we didn't learn anything new until high school.
It was in that class I saw my first CD player. Brandon the new kid -- but an immediate friend -- brought in the Smashing Pumpkins. Mr. Alguire let us listen while we worked in groups.
And it was in that class that I brought "dirty pictures" I found on the sidewalk.
I showed them to my friends, triggering an immediate uproar.
They were lost in the tumult. I thought I saw them fall to the ground.
"What do we have here?" said Mr. Alguire.
Oh God. I'm dead!
I looked in horror as he picked something up from the ground.
I was mortified. Blood left my face. I couldn't breathe. It's over!
"Someone left candy on the ground," he said. "I made a deal with you all. You can bring in food, but you absolutely must clean up after yourselves."
He didn't see it!
In the nearly 20 years since, I haven't thanked him once. Why? Why let so much time pass?
I've had so many experiences since. The memory is hazy. But what I do remember is Mr. Alguire's smile and the twinkle in his eye.
I remember why we venerated him. I think he venerated us, too. He saw us for the human beings we are. And he held us to a high standard. All with a sparkle in his eye.
Thank you Mr. Alguire for seeing the infinite possibility in children.