A Sunny Side of our Public Schools

My son forgot his lunch today, and I’m so glad he did.

With mid-school and the growing independence of my 12-year-old, I don’t get to experience much beyond the drop-off circle.  But today, with the excuse of delivering said forgotten lunch, I got venture inside.  I must admit, darkening the door of a mid-school still makes me break out in a cold sweat.  But, strolling past kids enjoying a beautiful, sunny, morning PE class on the grassy field, I followed the signs to the office, and boldly entered the hallways of Jefferson Middle School. 

A few adorable young ladies graced me with smiles as they were hanging up anti-bullying posters.  The sound of teachers’ voices, raised not in frustration, but in enthusiastic interaction, could be heard through the doors.  The sound of students milling about and chattering arose out of the next room.  Rounding the corner, I arrived at the office, where a few polite students were hanging out as the office staff humorously recounted their morning breakfast burrito mishap.  Everyone was not only nice and helpful, but I walked out the door feeling downright happy and uplifted.  And that wasn’t all.

The same PE class I saw in the field was now returning to the building, students respectfully walking in little groups of friends, followed by the smiling PE teacher, who gave me yet another happy greeting.  Then the icing on the cake: upon my return to the visitor parking lot, the sound of the acclaimed Rock and Rhythm BandTM, with live rock music blaring through the walls of the new music building.  How cool is that!?  (Check out this program and the incredible teacher, Robb Janov, that leads it: http://www.midschoolrock.com/rock_and_rhythm_band/Home.html).

This is the untold story of our public schools here in Albuquerque.  The part of the story that makes me proud and grateful that I get to raise my child here.  The picture of an environment that is filled with really great people doing really great things for our younger generations.  I’m not blind to the issues and challenges, but I’m certainly not going to turn a blind eye to great glimpse of hope I got today.

So, here’s to all the unsung heroes who spend their days at school with our kids…not just at Jefferson Middle School, but throughout our public, charter, and private schools.  Thanks for sticking with it!  And thanks for helping make this yet another reason I love it here.

-Mandy Herzog, Marketing | Vista Encantada Realtors, LLC

Coming Home

It took me a long time to refer to NM as home.  Growing up in the Chicago area, and adoring big cities, Albuquerque has always felt like a decent place to live, with its incredible climate, reasonable cost of living, nice people, and just enough of everything you hope to find in a city.  Only thing is, I still had not gotten over being a big city girl, and I found I needed to get out of here every now and then and travel about to get my fix.

But something shifted over the years.  I still love to travel, except now when I pass that “Welcome to New Mexico” sign – bright yellow with red and green chili peppers – my heart skips a beat…I’m home.  I’m excited.  I feel contentment wash over me, and I’m so happy to be back home to my New Mexico.

I recently spent a beautiful day hanging out with my dad, driving a stretch of Rt. 66 from Gallup, NM to the Arizona boarder in search of treasure.

I not only found treasure in the form of a few fun photos, but also in the time talking with my dad, reminiscing, taking in beautiful vistas, meeting some great people (people are SO friendly here!), and even bringing home one of those old weathered Rt. 66 signs to put on display.

This city girl has been bit by the Land of Enchantment bug.  The landscapes I used to find barren now look alive, the colors so vibrant, and places so nostalgic.  The long-range views are now my solstice…you just feel yourself breathing deeper, relaxing, and settling in to a more laid-back way.

How could I not love it here.

-Mandy Herzog