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My favorite memory from first grade occurred the day before winter break. My teacher, Mrs. Clevenger created four foot Christmas trees for each student to decorate out of butcher paper. Each student could decorate their tree however they wanted. Art has never been my thing, but I took this project very seriously. My beloved Michigan State Spartans were headed to The Rose Bowl and I was going to decorate my tree to show my support.
After about 45 minutes of decorating my tree was covered in roses, block Ss, and my attempts at the Spartan helmet logo. My tree was awesome. I was proud.
Mrs. Clevenger let us take these trees home at the end of the day. I carried my tree through the schoolyard to my home. The tree hung on a wall in our living room from when I got home until after the Spartans won The Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
After the holiday season, my mom hung the tree on the wall in my closet. The tree hung there for over 10 years.
I know teach in the same elementary where I designed that tree 26 years ago. When my Spartans punched their ticket to this year’s Rose Bowl I couldn’t help peaking in to my old first grade classroom. I could picture Mrs. Clevenger helping me decorate my tree and I could see all my friends and their trees.
After an extra long winter break (two extra days do to weather) I head back to school tomorrow. I hope that over the next 6 months together I can create a few memories that my students will be able to hold onto like Mrs. Clevenger did for me.