NOTE: I don't post to this blog super-duper often anymore, because I'm busy writing, well, books. (Read more about that here.) For more up-to-date, day-to-day ramblings, visit my Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Back to School, 50 Years Late

My first school visit of the 2014-15 school year was worth the wait! I returned to my home elementary school, Pawnee Elementary, on December 3. Pawnee and I were born the same year—1965—and we’ve both aged gracefully, if I say so myself. I was proud to help my school celebrate their 50th anniversary (the celebration is going on throughout this school year).

I attended Pawnee in the 1970s for my second through sixth grades. Back then we had blacktop beneath the monkey bars (the safety warnings consisted of: Don’t fall off), tornado drills in the civil defense shelter, and open doors throughout the school day. Things are a little different now. The brand-new office is a high-security operation with cameras and a buzz-in system outside the locked front doors. The playground has new equipment and something soft to land on, as well as a fence around the whole area. Kids don’t walk home for lunch anymore.

But in so many ways, it’s the same old Pawnee. The teachers care deeply about students. The kids laugh a lot. The library still has all the magic of storytime. The school secretary collects names of students who earn Panther Pride through their achievements; their names are read during the morning announcements. Some kids dream of making movies or studying dinosaurs. Some even dream of writing books and seeing those books in print on someone’s shelf. I can’t wait to see what they achieve. Go Panthers!

To make the visit even more special, librarian Cheryl Roberts and art teacher Lorie Sjostrom had the kids do projects related to The Key & the Flame, and presented me with several gifts:

Lorie Sjostrom's castles:

Some of the student artwork displayed in the front-hall trophy case:


Pawnee pride and Key & the Flame pride!

For more photos and a writeup about the presentation, check out the news story at the district website.


  1. What a wonderful experience for you, Claire. The student artwork is amazing. Congrats!