Monday, October 29, 2007

Northboro School Visits (Part 1 of 5): Zeh

I am hereby dubbing last week my Week of Awesomeness. Last week, I drove up to Northboro, Massachusetts (my hometown and the setting for INTO THE WILD), for a week of school visits. I visited all four elementary schools plus the middle school in Northboro (one school per day). I gave a total of twenty presentations and met 600-700 kids. It was AWESOME.

My first stop was Zeh School, which used to be Oxford Academy when I lived in Northboro. I learned two important things on this first day:

1) The elementary schools in Northboro now have mascots. (Zeh is zebras, Peaslee is pandas, Lincoln Street is polar bears, and Proctor is penguins.) This makes them far cooler than they were when I went there because it opens up the door to some rich, eccentric alum someday donating an actual zebra, panda, polar bear, or penguin to be housed in the school, which would be AWESOME.

2) I love school visits. This was a somewhat shocking discovery for me, given that the mere thought of doing an announcement in assembly in high school would turn me into a quivering mass of jelly. But I think they're really fun. I love talking about writing and telling students why I think it's the most magical thing in the world. I love the looks of horror on the students' faces when I tell them I did 30 drafts of INTO THE WILD. And I love meeting kids and answering questions and signing books and... well, all of it.

Best moment at Zeh School was when I came into the library about ten minutes early for my presentation. A class was in there so I snuck into the back and sat quietly in a seat behind a pillar. A few seconds later, I see a face pop around the pillar and then pop back. Then another. And another, until about a dozen kids are all peeking out at me, whispering, "It's her! It's her!" Kind of made me feel like a rock star. Also made me feel like looking behind me to see who they were talking about.

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6 Comments:

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Alex said...

When I saw the title "Zeh," I thought it was a value judgment on the experience, a variation of, "Eh." Glad that wasn't the case. :-) What exactly does "Zeh" refer to, though?

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Alex: The full name of the school is the Marion E. Zeh School. I don't know who Marion E. Zeh was, though...

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Anidori-Isilee said...

Funny...I Googled "Marion E. Zeh", and the things that come up are mostly related to the school. No "Marion E. Zeh was..."

Fun! Why do the elementary schools get such cool mascots, though? It's unfair. ;)

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Sarah et al,

From the Zeh School Handbook:

"We are proudly named after Marion E. Zeh, a special education teacher in the Northborough Public Schools who devoted many years to her students and the district."

And for those of you unitiated it is pronounced Zee, rhymes with Whee which is a much better value judgment, n'est-ce pas?

Info provided by a former Zeh parent and current Northborough Librarian at sister school Peaslee, named after Marguerite E. Peaslee, a former art teacher.

We do honor our educators here!!!

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Anidori-isilee: With you on the mascot envy. My high school mascot was the Shoreliners. I don't even know what a Shoreliner is. (Years later, they changed the mascot to the bears or something more traditional like that.)

Nancy: Good to know. Very cool. Thanks!

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger RuiseartDubh said...

Marion Zeh was a first grade teacher when I started school in Northboro at the Hudson St school (I had the other grade 1 teacher, Miss (Mrs, Ms?) Faye. Marion died sometime during my tenure, and when the Howard St school was opened, it was named for her. I only attended fifth grade there in its first year of operation, whereupon it grew too crowded and they re-opened Hudson St just for the sixth grade (a wonderful year!).

 

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