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Reader Opinion: Bob Gross 'reunion'

Today's Cultural Thursday at Central Lakes College felt like a District 181 reunion, with Bob Gross as the MC. Bob, in one of his signature acts, greeted many attendees by name, often including inquiries about their children, kiddos from the 1980...

Today's Cultural Thursday at Central Lakes College felt like a District 181 reunion, with Bob Gross as the MC. Bob, in one of his signature acts, greeted many attendees by name, often including inquiries about their children, kiddos from the 1980s. One by one, former secretaries, elementary teachers, high school English, math, shop, science, phy. ed. (the Midwestern term), retired principal Jack Fish, of the "(Jim) Hunt and Fish" era, three Spanish teachers and, yes, Sally Ihne, once president of Brainerd Community College, walked through the door!

The room filled with smiles, hugs, nods and a formidable sense of community. Many of us looked around and saw our colleagues and friends from decades of teaching in this district. We had stood together on hall duties, groaned together over curriculum writing, supported each other during parent conferences and lined up together for flu shots. During our careers, Bob Gross had respectfully addressed us often as a group of educators, as well as interacting with us as individuals who wanted our insights and concerns to be heard. In my experience, he returned my calls within 24 hours.

For those in the audience that were not a part of this unplanned :reunion," I hope you picked up on the warmth and camaraderie exchanged as people moved about, greeting one another. Bob's vignettes showed his advocacy for education, international travel, ability to see a "foreign" idea as one that might be advantageous here (like limiting campaigns to six weeks!) and was still inspiring us to reach out.

It was a pleasure and delight to be in the company of so many who had worked together during Bob's tenure. And Bob, I so enjoyed hearing your "post-Brainerd" adventures. You continue to be an outstanding role model. Now, why didn't we take a picture?

Jan Kurtz

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Ft. Ripley

Retired BHS/ CLC Spanish instructor

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