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LARSON: Happy to have run with the horses

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Having raised our boys in the Parkview cluster, I’d always thought of myself as a pure bred Panther. But in writing my last column, Mike Doyne of Lilburn Middle, made me realize I have Mustang roots. In fact, I was a Mustang even before I moved to Gwinnett and even before Mustangs existed. I guess I sort of put the cart before the horse without realizing it.

In the late ’70s I used to drive from Roswell to have lunch with my stepdaughter, Chrisa at Rockbridge Elementary, back when they were the Raiders. When we moved here in 1981, we cheered for her basketball team at Lilburn Middle, when she played as a Warrior.

Chrisa went on to be a Berkmar Patriot because the Meadowcreek Mustangs did not exist yet.

In 1991, my neighbor, Jan Mauldin, a secretary at LMS, twisted my arm to sub. I agreed just to keep her from pestering me, never imagining this would launch a 23 year career.

At mid-year LMS’s ESOL population grew enough to require a half-time para-pro. I took the job, but believe it or not, by year’s end the ESOL enrollment shrunk to where they no longer needed me.

I moved on to Lilburn ES, who were then Eagles. It was a full time para-pro job, but my hours were in sync with my kids’ schedules (including my grandson Layne who attended Rockbridge) and I hardly felt like I was working. But as my kids and grandkids got more involved with their activities, I returned to subbing.

For the next decade, much of my subbing was at Lilburn ES, Lilburn MS and Rockbridge ES, where the kids were now Roadrunners. I did several long term subs at Nesbit ES and Meadowcreek ES and for two years I taught adult ESOL in the evenings at Meadowcreek HS, where, I’d like to note, everyone from the administrators to the custodians made me feel like a regular part of their staff.

In the early 2000’s, GCPS drew new boundaries and the feeder schools adopted mascots to reflect the name of their cluster, therefore, explaining how from the first time I set foot in a Gwinnett school I was predestined to be at least part Mustang.

But my immersion in the Mustang culture go even deeper. Several times Lilburn ES honored me by asking me to be a science fair judge and a guest reader for Read Across America Week. When Dr. Connie Davis, now an assistant principal at Meadowcreek HS was teaching at LMS, she invited me to present writing workshops for her language arts classes. LMS also invited me to be the featured speaker at several writing festivals. And I’d just like to trot out there that the LMS mug they gave me means a million times more than I ever made subbing anywhere.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.