by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's & Youth Ministries

Milestone: noun - an important event in a person's life or career.

We begin taking notice of milestones from the minute a child is born; holding the head up, being alert, rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, eating by yourself. And on it goes.

When we get to the end of the school year at All Things Bright and Beautiful, we have a closing celebration to acknowledge that our Junior Kindergarten students are going on to a different school next year: a milestone for them. And as I tell those assembled at the beginning of the celebration, it is NOT a graduation! That is a milestone to be recognized at the end of eighth grade, high school and college.

The love and compassion that the teachers of ATB and B offer these children is returned in no small measure through the year, and is especially evident on the last day. The hugs from the children that won't let go accompanied by the tears of grateful parents says it all. This is a very special place.

Over the past 12 years, it has been made very special by the presence of Wyn Gilbert. When she contacted me all those years ago to see if we might need a teacher, I am so grateful I was happy to say that we did need a teacher for Junior Kindergarten. And Wyn has given so much to this program in so many ways!

Over 10 years ago, it was Wyn and fellow teacher at the time, Heidi Higgins, who together created the Friend of the Week program that is such a key element in our JK curriculum. I have written about it before in the Dove and it has been shared throughout the preschool community of the North Shore. Even a nationally-acclaimed educator, who spoke at a local event, heard about this program and wanted to learn more.

Wyn is the shining example of what it means to be a true friend - not just for the week but for a lifetime. In addition to the Friend of the Week concept, her honesty and integrity, sense of humor, compassion, energy and enthusiasm for life will be her legacy.

Wyn's milestone of retirement will allow her the time and flexibility to travel to England to see her magnificent granddaughter, Elsa. We have promised to keep her at the top of the substitute list, so we know we will see her from time to time.

We thank you for twelve fabulous years; we love you Mrs. Wyn!