Oak Bluffs: Giving thanks to teachers

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— Shelby Regan

Thanksgiving was held in many homes throughout the Island last week, and although perhaps different for most of us from any we have celebrated before, we are thankful and continue to be grateful that most of us have not contracted the virus that has changed so many lives.

Leaves are still making their fall journey from the trees to the ground, but once raked our lawn is still green, and these last few days of beautiful weather allow us to enjoy the outside. At our house, my children took advantage of the clear days and have almost completed the outside Christmas decorations. My role in this chore has now been demoted to observer, but I can also function quite well as a critic, which usually results in a few raised eyebrows. But we laugh as we acknowledge some things never change.

As the COVID cases rise, we are now required to wear masks outside and in stores, keep socially distancing, and use caution. Yet as I look out my office window while writing this column, in the front yard across the street there are three landscape workers using leaf blowers, but none wearing masks. I realize they are outside, but the house is very close to the street, and there are still many people walking by. Please do those three simple things so we can bring those virus numbers way down.

So many people have emerged as heroes during this health crisis, helping us in unexpected ways. They include caregivers, health care workers, grocery store workers, teachers, friends, and many others. But this morning I want to salute a person who has always strived to help. Longtime Oak Bluffs School teacher, Priscilla Sylvia, now retired, celebrated a milestone birthday a few weeks ago. Members of my family were discussing the pros and cons of the different ways students have to continue their education now, and we were discussing their favorite teachers. It was unanimous as Priscilla won. They all said she was very strict, but it was so much easier to succeed when you knew what to expect because her standards were high. They all agreed that at the time, they might have had moments of being annoyed but through the years have grown to appreciate her more and more. So take time to thank the teachers who have taught you through the years and are now having to cope with so many changes. Priscilla, we thank you for your work for our children and for our town.

Join Caitlyn at our Oak Bluffs library on Discord to play Jackbox Games virtually. This is for ages 12 through 18, and it will take place every Wednesday through Dec. 23 from 2 to 4 pm. Registration is required, so please email cclark@aclamsnet.org to sign up.

We send healing get-well wishes to Oak Bluffs Fireman Kevin Brennan, who was seriously injured last week as he helped other Fire Department members mount the flag on the truck for the funeral of Buddy Debettencourt. Kevin is recovering, but it will be a slow process.

We send sincere condolences to the family and many friends of Lena Vanderhoop, who passed away last week. A most kind person and caring caretaker of many clients over the years, she will be missed by all who loved her.

Heidi Ganser, an Oak Bluffs School teacher, has kindly sent along some information regarding a Misty Meadows program. Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center is accredited by PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), and it provides a nurturing environment where horses and humans work together to transform lives. Misty Meadows offers unique, equine-assisted, year-round programs for participants of all ages and abilities that awaken personal potential and provide the tools to face life’s challenges. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Liz Adams, program manager, for more information or to schedule a tour at liz@mistymeadowsmv.org, or call 508-338-7198. Misty Meadows offers mounted and unmounted experiences for a wide variety of populations. They have had relationships with Island Autism, Jabberwocky, the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club, the elderly, and veterans. They also offer many other fabulous opportunities for children and adults after school, such as Girl Power and Mounted Archery.

We send Birthday Smiles to Brittney Jardin, Bill Anderson Sr., Kate Collins, Carol Testaman, and Gail Barmakien on Dec. 4, James Hakenson on the 6, Mary MacDonald, Lynn Rebello, Francis Bernard, and Rose Cogliano on the 7th, Vamp Campbell on Dec. 8, Tyler Araujo on the 9th, and Tony Maseda and Patrick Parker on the 10th. Congratulations to a very special couple, Barbara and Jules Ben David, who will be celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary on December 7.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.