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Original post made on Jun 18, 2008

Joan Bruce

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Posted by James
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Joan Bruce was my fifth-grade teacher at Walter Hays Elementary School in 1968. The school was just starting its expansion plan so our class was assigned to a portable classroom "out back" with a brand new teacher to the school, Miss Bruce. She was so entirely different than any other teacher I had known, teaching us the often difficult lessons to be independent thinkers, aware consumers (she introduced us to recycling), global citizens, and even brought parliamentary rules of engagement to begin each class day. Miss Bruce shared her true feelings, her stories of the world, "dramatic plays" as history tests, her car named Betsy, and so much more as we all learned to develop and grow our individual and collective sense of empowerment and good judgement. After forty years, I still recall Miss Bruce's keen sense of humor and fair play mixed with her unique skills to gently push us to be our best. Joan Bruce inspired me to attend Stanford, pursue an education career to help others. I can only hope to teach and mentor just a fraction of people that the best teacher of all, Miss Joan Bruce, happened to meet over her lifetime.

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