So here's my dad.
And that's Amy, his teaching partner that he has shared a closet with for the last 10 years! Even though she's closer to my age than his...they are the best of friends. Because that's how my dad rolls. No matter who you are, he will be your friend.
And friends he has made over the last 25+ years of teaching!!! When we moved to KC from Texas when I was about 2, he started teaching in Desoto school district. My dad was always the best teacher and always brought my sister and I up to his school. I remember good times at Desoto Junior High (where he first taught) and his classroom upstairs and playing in the gym. I even had some of my own practices there.
20 years ago, they opened up a new middle school in the district and Desoto Junior High was no more- his new teaching home was Monticello Trails Middle school. When that opened in western Shawnee...it was literally in the middle of nowhere. Weren't very many houses, no stores, etc out there. Now everything has gone up around that area and it's not so desolate anymore.
Crazy how things change in just 20 years ;)
My dad and his 8th grade teaching partners during his last trip to World's of Fun the last week of school.
Ok to the point of this all- my dad decided it was time retire. Which is not actually going to happen because my dad is a busy body, but he decided it was time to stop teaching. I know he had been talking about it for awhile, but this was the year. What a decision to make, right? I mean he's more than earned it- but my dad is a staple of that school. I mean he's been there all 20 years it's been opened. He now is teaching with people that he taught- crazy! He coaches literally every sport, runs to the clock at every game and is always volunteering to help out. Like I said, he is a staple of the school.
So of course, even though it was against his wishes, he had to have a proper goodbye. And Amy did just that and planned an amazing assembly to celebrate. It was done in tandem with the 20th anniversary celebration of the school - so adding something for him at the end was a perfect disguise.
He was clueless.
However, he did make it clear he wanted NOTHING to celebrate it- so my mom had to do some convincing that just something little (an open house after school) would be ok.
Well, Amy blew that out of the water. And I'm so happy we were there to witness it.
We got there and a bunch of teachers from the school that had since left were filing in and listening to an awesome video Amy put together about the school. When we knew he was in and wouldn't see us, we snuck out to see what was going on.
And look at what we found? Hah! These girls had assembled the "world's largest cookie cake" in honor of my dad. Apparently he brings everyone cookie cakes to school when there ks something to celebrate. You found out you're pregnant? Cookie cake. The cafeteria lady is having a birthday? Cookie cake.
I had no idea he did this. So so funny!!
So after the 20th anniversary video, Amy took the mic and said it was time to celebrate Mr Bruns- so these girls wheeled the cookie cake in and my family followed in behind- he had no idea we would be there.
She had him get up and presented him with some pretty amazing memory books- she had pulled together every single picture from each sports team he coached over the last 20 years at MTMS (except track). What an amazing memory! And so funny to look at.
Then- she announced that they made a Roger Bruns sportsmanship award. The award would go to one 8th grade girl and one boy that demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during their time at MTMS. Two of his coaching partners stood up and said some pretty amazing things about my dad before they announced the winners. He was a mentor to them and one of the coaches was crying. It was just so amazing to see what an impact he has on people.
We had met the parents of the girl that was getting the award in the office and I lost it when I looked over at them when she was being presented the award - her dad had tears streaming down his face - he was so proud. I just kept thinking how proud he must be and then of my own kids and was so happy. What an honor for my dad to have that ongoing award named after him to keep his legacy going.
Then she started the video. It was from all his coworkers over the years about the impact he had on them. It was so fun to hear the stories everyone had. From his goofy antics to talking about his service through mission trips.
I already knew that my dad was pretty special - but hearing all these people talk about him...I was blown away. He is literally one of a kind and has changed so many people's lives for the better.
Of course, Charlie wanted to run up and watch the video with him and next thing I know, Maddie is taking off crawling towards him too!!
Needless to say, these kids are pretty obsessed with their papa. The feeling is mutual!
After the assembly, my sister got these pictures of my dad interacting with his kids. And I just love them. This is his happy. He's in his element with all his energy and being his goofy and caring self.
What lucky students they are to have a teacher like him.
Another thing that Amy presented?!? A Roger Bruns bobble head!!! Hahaha! Apparently my dad regularly won the "Sunshine award" among the teachers because of his positive attitude, so this bobble head is the "Bruns-shine" award. Perfect!!!
So there really was an open house after the assembly for him that wasn't a surprise and he got to see many people that he had worked with from all over the district come to wish him well.
And eat cookie cake and Costco cake (his fav!)
Since the family was all together- we had to get a shot. And it was a pretty good one.
I already knew I was so blessed with an amazing family, but this just confirmed it even more.
It was such a great afternoon celebrating my dad. I literally got home and told jimmy I feel like my life is so minuscule now- and that I need to make an impact on more people! As hard as being a teacher is (and believe me- my dads a teacher, mom is a counselor and mother in law is a principal...so I have an appreciation for how hard working in a school can be!), how amazing all the lives you get to impact and change. It's pretty amazing.
So here's to you, Roger Bruns.
One of the most amazing teachers, coaches, mentors and most of of...dad/papa that there ever will be. Your legacy will continue in all the good things you do and service you provide to the community long into your retirement.
I love you so much and am so proud to call you my dad!
Some of my favorite parts of this video:
- How everyone loves him so much and is always making other people happy
- The story about him going to mission trips and LITERALLY giving the clothes off of his back - that's pretty amazing. I love that
- Some of the teachers are his age or older and some are way younger- his impact to people has no age limit