It means “party” in French.  And I was at one yesterday afternoon.  Vicki is a teacher at St. Patrick School in Woodstock, Ontario, and she’s retiring after decades of teaching.  The whole school was sitting on the gym floor as her kindergarten class came to the front and sang to their beloved teacher.  Vicki beamed.

Then there was the video.  We saw the star of the show as a young kid, as a teen, as a new teacher.  Years of class photos shone from the screen.  Plus a few vintage staff photos.  Lots of smiles and laughs from the audience.  Each of Vicki’s current students stood in front of the camera and told us what they liked about their teacher.  Most of them were shy, and I guess a bit scared, but one young man just belted out his message, mouth wide open.  What fun.  St. Patrick’s has students ranging from kindergarten to Grade 8.  On video, each class said thanks, complete with lots of waving.

And let’s not forget the massages.  For years, Vicki has given her colleagues a neck rub at the end of a stressful day.  So here’s staff member number one, a woman, sitting in a chair facing left.  From the right edge of the screen appear two hands and forearms, descending gently onto her shoulders.  After a few seconds of good rubbing, the “Oohs” and “Ahhs” emerge.  This scenario was repeated about 20 times … teachers, educational assistants, custodian, secretary, principal.  All felt the healing touch.  What a community I was sitting with!

For the big finale, all of us lined the hallways, each carrying a little flag.  Mine was pink.  From my spot in the L-shaped corridor, I could hear cheering growing louder.  And then barreling around the corner was Vicki, running and waving as a torrent of joy and flying flags carried her along.  I even got a high five from the golden girl.

Whew.  What a spectacle.  The three R’s are important, but to Rejoice together is the best.

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