Still sort of speechless.
In my disjointed remarks last Thursday I forgot to say how much I owe to the people around me. I wish I had said more about my gratitude to be working with such a fine team of colleagues. I'm told that it's unusual for a school staff to work together as happily and smoothly as this one does. A lot of credit for our collegiality should go to our principal, Mrs. Wilding. And a lot of credit for the success of our school is due to everyone who works at the school and I mean everyone, including the parent volunteers. I get way too much credit for what is in reality a team effort. Mrs. Frech, in particular, has done countless things to make the kindergarten run smoothly. Without her help people would be far less impressed by the kindergarten than they are. I will miss her next year. She literally reads my mind half the time.
I wanted to publish here the remarks the Christa Cape shared on the occasion. When she read these words I got too emotional to think all that clearly. If you read them, you'll understand why I was somewhat incoherent when I was given the microphone.
Here's what Christa said:
Dunham’s Beloved Mr. Gurney
written by Christa Cape, whose son, Stephen Thrower, is a kindergarten student in Mr. Gurney’s kindergarten class at Dunham Elementary School.
If you attend Dunham Elementary School, you know who Mr. Kindergarten is. He is our own Mr. Dan Gurney. What you may not know is for almost three decades Mr. Gurney has provided our students with the very best he has to offer, education, inspiration, and love. He has developed tools to help our students learn such as the Soundabet and he has developed several blogs, including “Mr. Kindergarten” as a virtual classroom for the parents to see into their child’s school day.
When I started writing this article, I wanted to know what other people thought of Mr. Gurney. Dylan Petersen, a current kindergartner said, “I want to stay in kindergarten forever. Mr. Gurney makes school fun.” Both my son, Steven Thrower and his friend, Justin Casarotti, often ask during the weekend when they can go to school because they was to see Mr. Gurney. And as a former student of Mr. Gurney, Jennifer Crum, whose three daughters currently attend Dunham, Madison, Emily, and Savannah who is also in kindergarten said, “He’s an amazing teacher who truly loves his job. There’s just something about the way he talks to his students as well as the way he listens that captures each and every child. I am so thankful my kids were a part of Mr. Gurney’s Kindergarten Experience...a very safe, happy, and kind place to be. Mr. Gurney is an icon at Dunham School.”
However, I believe that Ms. Kimberlee Wilding, the school Principal, summed it up best when I asked her about Mr. Gurney. Her response was, “Many families choose Dunham specifically because of Mr. Gurney. His eagerness to develop programs and meet the ever-changing needs of his students has earned him this fame and reputation.”
Because Mr. Gurney has had such a powerful and loving impact on so many generations of Dunham families, the school sought to honor him. The parents and staff of Dunham generously donated money to have a statue commissioned by the famous metal sculptor, Patrick Amiot. Many of his works are seen throughout Sebastopol. The statue portrays Mr. Gurney as we see him on a daily basis, riding his bike, wearing that odd-shaped hat. What a wonderful way to say Thank you to a man who has devoted his life to education, not just at Dunham, but to so many others via his blogs, Mr. Kindergarten and A Mindful Heart. This gift is to be presented to Mr. Gurney on June 3rd at the end of the year school fair.
I know that I speak for many parents when I say, “Thank you, Mr. Gurney. Thank you for loving our children and for being such a wonderful teacher and humanitarian.”