Last weekend I had the pleasure of performing some of my Kathryn the Grape songs at the Sparrow Spring Festival in La Mesa, CA. It was also the start of Teacher Appreciation Week. In honor of my third grade teacher, Carolyn Vega, I added “This Land Is Your Land” to my set. Below is a video clip of that performance.
“Mrs. Vega,” was my third grade teacher at Encanto Elementary School in San Diego back in 1983. When I was inspired with the story for my third book, Kathryn the Grape’s Piece of Love, which take place at Kathryn the Grape’s school, I knew that the teacher I wanted to honor as Kathryn the Grape’s teacher in the book was Mrs. Vega.
There are many reasons why I loved being in Mrs. Vega’s class, but the one thing I loved most was singing songs every day! Each morning after we said The Pledge of Allegiance, Mrs. Vega sat at her piano and together we sang a few songs. She had the words of each song written on a large flip chart for us to easily sing along. One of the songs imprinted in my memory from that year of my life is, “This Land Is Your Land.” Mrs. Vega is still in my life, and I have enjoyed getting to experience her love and light now as an adult.
For all of you who are teachers, and perhaps wonder if you are actually making a difference and impacting the lives of the children you nurture each day in your classroom….please know that YOU ARE! While you may not experience the bloom of your influence immediately, the seeds of love you plant matter!
31 years later, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I stood in front of a group of children and families and sang a song that my third grade teacher taught me. Now I share those same seeds with other, and the ripple effect of love continues. I encourage you to keep teaching, keep inspiring, keep planting seeds…because the world needs to experience the bloom of your love and light, too.