2008-05-08 / Youth


I never knew . . .

Sylvia Buttler is principal at H.G. Olsen Elementary School in Port Aransas. Sylvia Buttler is principal at H.G. Olsen Elementary School in Port Aransas. I never knew when I was growing up why everyone knew everyone's business in Port Aransas - now I know it was because everyone looked out for each other.

I never knew that other schools didn't have a new gigantic library - ours even came with a librarian named Linda Nichols who also taught language and reading.

I never knew that other schoolgirls didn't get to help their librarian move and then get to have a sleepover for helping her.

I never knew how Mama knew I had gotten into trouble at school even before I got home (next door) - now I make calls to parents before my students get home because I want the very best for these kids just like Mrs. Fortson did.

I never knew why other basketball teams were so jealous of the "Port A" teams and our beautiful school - now I know.

I never knew that other grade schools didn't have elaborate eighth grade graduations like we did - we were special in Port Aransas. Children were celebrated!

I never knew why Doyle Marek was so strict on us during basketball season - now I know, because we were always winners on the court.

I never knew why we got to take so many field trips to Knolle Dairy Farms, Borden's Dairy, Buttercrust Bakery, Rainbow Bakery, Welder Park in Sinton, San Antonio Zoo, Sunken Gardens in San Antonio, Coca Cola Bottling Co., and many, many more - they wanted us to have lots of experiences.

I never knew that other area schools didn't have a state-of-theart science lab like H. G. Olsen Elementary did in 1966 - I took it for granted.

I never knew other schools didn't have a May Fete every year that involved every single student in the school and parents who could sew, sewed for months on our costumes.

I never knew what a big deal it was when the army came to Port Aransas and set up maneuvers in the dunes by the south jetties. The entire school got to visit their compound and ride the aqua duck (water transport) out into the water by the jetties. We got to eat their canned food rations.

I never knew that my second grade teacher, Arlene Mayer Hughes and her sister, Barbara Behrens who taught my little brother, would some day be volunteers where I am school principal - how lucky is that? Arlene told me at SandFest that we were celebrating our 50th anniversary - she taught me in 1958.

I never knew that my childhood best friend, Barbara Littleton Collins would be my lifelong best friend.

I never knew school finance would change and maybe jeopardize all the extras and cool experiences that Port Aransas kids get at school - The Port Aransas Education Foundation is making sure this never happens to our Port Aransas kids. They know the value of educational experiences and work to ensure those experiences keep happening for our kids.

I never knew the value of growing up in Port Aransas until I "grew up" and came back as an adult.

This article is dedicated to all the children of Port Aransas, Texas, and may they always know how lucky they are and not wait until they are grown to appreciate the joys of being "an island kid." Your island is small, but your experiences are vast! In Port Aransas, children are still celebrated!

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