What are you going to do for your summer vacation?

I have had some very interesting discussions with my former educators about my formative years. What is most interesting is their take on when I was a kid and their view of me in recent years. Consistently then, the typical phrase used by my teachers to describe my middle through high school years is, “Well, you had a lot of potential.” I was not a model student. Heck, I was barely a student. I was one of those people who if sports hadn’t required a minimum GPA to be eligible, grades wouldn’t have mattered to me, at least until I got home.

I couldn’t sit still, I hated listening to lectures, and if you really wanted to set me off give me two pages of math problems, with 50 to 100 problems of doing the same exact thing. I enjoyed English classes, didn’t mind reading books, found history classes somewhat interesting but always, always, was looking for the next practical joke or wisecrack one-liner to pull on anyone. I was in band and choir through high school, by choice-my Mom’s choice. If I was a band director and had a kid like myself in the band, we would have a field trip and that band member would strangely just not make it back. I suspect if I would have been 10 years younger I would certainly have been diagnosed with an attention-deficit disorder of some sort, I exhibited all of the signs and struggled with focusing on any one subject or discussion for more than a minute.

During my time in school, I spent a lot of time just like this young lady below. Well that and the principal’s office, seriously

This might be why my last career led me to serving public school employees with guidance on the State of Wisconsin pension system, their personal retirement savings, and planning generally for retirement. I enjoyed helping public school employees, especially band directors, plan for a comfortable retirement. I think it might have been a little personal penance I felt the need to pay, to make up for the pain and suffering I had caused some of my educators during that time. One of my greatest adult work achievements was when I presented a retirement seminar at a local school district to the staff and following, my former high school band director, (he left my high school shortly after I graduated for another school so you can’t blame me) came up and said, “Marty, you found exactly what you should be doing, good for you.” And I then went on over the next several years to assist him in his retirement plans and eventual retirement. It felt very good to be of assistance and help him comfortably achieve a lifetime goal and he showed great appreciation for the assistance.

With the end of the school year upon us, and my awareness (and personal experience from the other end) of how taxing the school year can be for educators I would again like to offer some measure of appreciation for what they do, and face, every school day. We ask them to not only educate our children in the respective subjects they teach, but they are also caregivers, counselors, and friends to our kids. My kids were very fortunate to have great teachers who not only educated them but also counseled them in day to day life events. Teachers are sometimes faced with un-winnable circumstances, with fewer and fewer resources, but increasing demands on their time.

In a small token of our appreciation, Ridge and Valley Tours would like to offer a 10% discount, to our already reduced price, to all Wisconsin public school employees. Just enter WEACmember at the checkout when purchasing tickets for any tour to apply the discount. We won’t even force you to write an essay afterwards about “What I Did For My Summer Vacation”.

I look forward to seeing you all this summer, and hey, if you identify yourself as an educator during one of our tours I will make sure the wine or beer tastings are extra special for you. You have deserved it.


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