Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dear CAL,

I don't think it really hit me til today.  Today is the last day you will be a PK-12th grade program.  Despite having graduation two weeks ago, it really didn't get to me til today as I sent my kids off on the bus for their last day of school wearing their favorite blue Cadet t-shirts (and as I proudly wear one from home too).

The students of CAL Community School
Last Day of School - May 31, 2018
(Photo courtesy of CAL Community School)

When I first started dating my husband in college he always fondly talked about CAL.  He talked about the teachers who pushed him and truly cared for all of their students.  He talked about the friendships made with students, staff and community members.  And I wondered if this place really could be true.  While yes, I had a just fine elementary, middle school and high school experience, I was definitely one of those high school seniors that was ready to go away and never return.  My husband had a sense of pride for his school that I admired and dreamed that our children would someday get to experience.

A little more than ten years ago I moved to the CAL community after I married my husband.  It wasn't too long after moving to the area that I started to understand why my husband was so proud of the school.  We didn't have kids, and wouldn't have kids for a few years, but I felt a sense of responsibility and commitment to be apart of the students lives.  I got involved with some community groups that allowed me to develop connections and relationships with the students.  One thing that makes CAL so special, is that the community is so proud and supportive of the school and the students, and vice versa.  Just last week, the Kindergarten class at CAL helped me paint the Latimer Little Free Library and dropped off 424 books they collected through a book drive they did as part of their community project.

CAL Kindergarten donates books to Latimer Little Free Library

I feel so lucky that my kids get to experience the "family" at CAL, and while I'm excited for the possibilities and opportunities for our preschool through 6th grade program in the future, I have to admit that part of me is sad my children won't graduate from the same school their Dad did and from such a close-knit high school.

I can't believe how proud I am of a school I never attended.  It truly astonishes me.  But it's because of everyone involved in the school and community.  It's because the staff truly cares for the individual student and that the teachers get to know all of the students on a personal level.  It's because the school, despite being small, has always worked hard to provide opportunities and experiences for their students.

These things won't change, even though the make-up of the school will be.  CAL will always be a special place for students to learn and grow.  And for the junior-high and high school students that will be traveling to Hampton-Dumont as part of the whole-grade sharing, CAL will always be a cherished place in your hearts and you will always have the school and community here to support you.

Happy last day of school CAL!  You truly are a one of kind place that I am so proud of.

Forever and Always a Cadet,
Val Plagge


  1. Well said!! I feel the same!!

  2. Val, Thanks so much for your post on the last day of school for CAL. It truly is a special place - I graduated from CAL many years ago, but still remember all my teachers and activities. Best wishes going forward.

  3. Unfortunately consolidation is the way of the future to give our children the opportunities they need to see us to the world of tomorrow. I didn't realize how close you live close to me, because we are Waverly-Shell Rock. My great grandson and great nieces all graduated from Pre-K and are now Kindergardeners!

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