On March 17, sixth-grade teacher Ed Bolman and biology teacher Kellie Whited sat at the “kids’ table” and laughed all night with seniors Darby Bosco, Charlie Johnson, David Myers and Patrick Talamantes at the Lifers’ Dinner, according to Whited.
The four seniors who have been at Country Day for 10 or more years (known as “Lifers”) chose Whited (affectionately known as “DDub”) and Bolman as the two teachers they wanted to honor at the dinner.
“We wanted to honor the (teachers) who really go out of their way to be available to their students in personal issues as well as academic ones,” Talamantes said.
“DDub and Bolman were, to us, the perfect examples of that.”
“We looked back and we looked at who was always there for us in all our years,” Myers said. “It was surprisingly easy to think of whom we wanted to vote for.”
However, Bosco thought it was a hard decision to make.
“We’ve had so many great teachers over the years,” she said. “We tried to think of teachers who went above and beyond—and really got to know their students outside the classroom.”
Johnson said that one reason they chose these teachers was that the Lifers not only enjoyed their classes but also enjoyed their support and company outside of class.
At Piatti’s Italian Restaurant and Bar, students, their families and the teachers spent the evening together.
The parents brought pictures of the Lifers to decorate the tables.
“Wandering around the room and seeing embarrassing photos and making jokes was just hilarious,” Talamantes said.
“They were great reminders of all the wonderful memories we’ve had over the years,” Bosco said.
Myers especially remembered a photo of Talamantes dressed in a Gryffendoor hood with a dragon on his shoulder. He was giving the camera a “dead-eye stare.”
“He had to stare it down the entire evening,” Myers said, as the photo was placed directly in front of him.
Each Lifer got up and gave a small speech about the teachers they honored.
Myers said that the students spoke from their hearts.
“The most special moment was when (the teachers) got up,” Myers said.
The teachers went through the things they remembered most about each student. Whited said that it was hard to pick only a few things to say about each one because she had so many great stories.
Bolman said that this was a very special class for him. Many of the Lifers have siblings he has taught over the years.“ It is that community building that you just don’t get at other schools,” he said.
Talamantes remembered taking tae kwon do with Bolman.
“Over those three years, I developed more and more self-confidence as I improved at the martial art,” he said.
Johnson remembered talking about cars and martial arts with Bolman.
Myers remembered always knowing that he could go back to Bolman. “He’d understand my frustrations,” he said.
More recently, Myers said, Bolman was one of the few who respected the work it took for Myers and his friends to create an app for the iPad.
“He treated my project and me as it should be treated,” Myers said.
Talamantes said it was “enormously comforting” knowing that Whited would be available if he ever needed to talk to someone.
Myers said that even as he became more self-reliant, he always knew he could turn to Whited.
“I can’t imagine not having them around next year,” Whited said. “How could you not love a group of students who wanted us all to dress as super heroes for the Lifer picture?
“That picture will be on my desk until I retire.”