Published : Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 10:49 PM
As the school year rapidly comes to a close, Crestview Preparatory School would like to share this beautiful tribute to their departing Head of School Marie Kidd written by 3rd and 6th grade parents Carlos Brooks and Helen Childress Brooks.
My first clear memory of Marie Kidd was on the first day of school in the fall of 2010. A second grade boy was staging a walk-out before the day had even begun. Harried adults fluttered around him, pleading and cajoling, and then… a woman stepped into the frame. She took the boy’s arm like it was a slot machine handle, and, steering him down the breezeway, calmed him with words calibrated to function as both reassurance and command: “You’re going to be fine, it’s all going to be okay, you don’t want to miss your first day of school.” I don’t know who that boy was, but he did not miss his first day of school. And it was okay. He was fine.
Two years later I heard a story about a distraught fourth grade girl who, having committed some sort of social faux pas, had barricaded herself in the bathroom in a fit of tears. This time the errant student was met with a gentle hug, and similar words: “It’s all going to be okay, you’re going to be fine, you don’t want to miss the rest of the school day.” And she was fine. Her day had been restored to her, a potential scar avoided by timely application of understanding, her life righted as if such things can be righted by just anybody.
As parents, we may have occasionally taken for granted the heroic qualities of Mrs. Kidd. It’s not our fault. She draws no attention to herself, nor brooks any nonsense. She does not patronize, she does not minimize. She respects children, and believes in letting them be children. And in return they give her the sort of respect that can’t be bartered for with overtures of familiarity, but must be earned — through patience, constancy, honesty and a host of other virtues best summed up by her abiding love of teaching. Her legacy at Crestview must surely include those hundreds of children who will now grow up inspired
by her to do the right thing when no one is watching.
They will recall how Mrs. Kidd dreaded interrupting their summers with lists of school supplies, and inaugurated their falls with a reading of Dr. Seuss — the message is vintage Mrs. Kidd: “Stay a child for as long as you can — your whole life, if you can swing it.” They will remember this, and other things. You don’t often meet someone in charge of a preparatory school who’s spirit animal is the Lorax.
But a school, by definition, is a place you leave. And even a principal is a student, ours certainly is — a confessed student of life. As the day approaches for her to pack up the office where she has spent these seven years gazing out upon the rocket that so inspired her, I find myself wondering if it ever occurred to her that the rocket has likewise been gazing in at her. By now it must be familiar with her laughs, glasses and knee-high boots, her patient ear bent to a worried parent behind a closed door. It must have marveled at the termite mounds of papers that will still be covering her desk the day she leaves (“Because the work is never finished,” it would have often heard her say). And if it could talk, surely her beloved rocket would not let her go without a parting word — something on behalf of the kids, no doubt — words befitting a hero, on the occasion of her new adventure: “Thank you, Marie.”
By Carlos Brooks and Helen Childress
Crestview Preparatory School, 140 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, (818) 952-0925 or visit www.crestviewprep.org.