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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

A Letter to Miss Busek

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
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Every day I use the lessons and principles I learned at Sussex School. I don’t know... some of my classmates may not remember them as well as I do. It may not have been obvious at the time, but the attention to detail and high standards that all of my Sussex School teachers set made a deep and lasting impression on us. Stated simply, it worked. For that, I am forever grateful.


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Recently I wrote about the teachers at my elementary school. I mentioned that I sent a letter Miss Busek, my second grade teacher. That's Miss Busek, below, in the middle. Miss Hudson (5th grade) is on the left, and Miss Merker (4th grade) on the right:

This is the letter I sent to Miss Busek:

Dear Miss Busek:

A friend of a friend of a sister of an acquaintance saw you in a grocery store last week. And so it got back to me that you are still in Shaker Heights. I thought I had lost track of you long ago.

I am one of the hundreds of former second-grade students that you helped turn into responsible adults. Accordingly, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for what you did for all of us. You were tough, you were confident, you were relentless, and of course, you were absolutely correct. My mother told me so at the time, though I had difficulty accepting it. But I made it through your class unscathed. (I learned that if I dressed better than the rest of the kids, you seemed to pick on me less... not much less, but a little less. Every bit helped.)

Only years later did I begin to realize just how special Sussex School had been for me and my classmates. I began hearing stories from friends outside of Shaker Heights. They had a much easier ride in elementary school... and they have been at a disadvantage ever since. And of course, I read what is happening in schools today. I can only imagine how I would have turned out had I had been enrolled in a public school in the nineties. I was not a troublemaker, but Mrs. Kirsch [the principal] called me flippant. Naturally, she was right. The solution back then was consistent discipline and strict adherence to high standards. If I had been a second-grader in 1995, I suppose there would not have been enough Ritalin on earth to deal with me. Wrong answer! Of course, you and I both know that.

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