When Kevin approached me to create a photo montage of the Pollock Pines schools in his district – Pinewood, Sierra Ridge, and Silver Fork – I knew this was going to be a special and very meaningful job. You see, for 6 years Kevin has been my kids’ school Superintendent, and our community has gotten many good opportunities to get to know him. Always approachable, he would stand outside the school entrance at drop off to socialize with the students and their parents. Everybody knew Mr. Monsma! This hands-on approach has always been something I really admired about him. This summer he moved on to a new position as Associate Superintendent for the El Dorado County Office of Education, and his request was that I commemorate his time in Pollock Pines with my photography. What an honor!
Quickly, it occurred to me that the PP school district staff may have just found the perfect gift for his departing(much better than a plaque, right?) I contacted Kim Little and she said, “run with it”, so I did and Kevin was gifted with these canvases at the end of the school year staff party.
The project proved to be not only fun, but very cathartic for me as well. The parallel between his career development and the growth of my children under his leadership really hit home to me. To truly capture the full 6 years of his Pollock Pines experience (which only capstones a 30 year career in education), I dug through my archives and found some blasts from the past, like the photograph of Mr Ferris(retired Pinewood kindergarten legend) with my youngest daughter Ember likely giving him the daily report on the weather as well as the number of penguins on the playground. There’s another of the age old tradition of Pinewood teachers spraying the busloads of kids on the last day of school as they make their ceremonious loops around the parking lot honking and carrying on. That bottom image – the one of the class of 2016 tossing their roses – is from Jaz’s graduation. There were also several captures that I shot just for this project. The Silver Fork school image – complete with goats, chickens, dog, and turtles moving in and out of frame while my assistant, Shelley, with the prowess of an experienced farmer, kept moving them back in. Memorable, chaotic…very hilarious.
Upon delivering Kevin the final image from the Sierra Ridge graduation yesterday to complete the montage, Kevin gave Jaz, who will be starting high school, perhaps the best advice ever: “Get out there, try something new, and never stop pushing your boundaries”. Looks like he’s doing exactly the same thing, and we wish him all the success in the world.
That doesn’t mean we won’t miss him! But since The Monsma family has decided to make Pollock Pines their home, I know we’ll see him kayaking on the lake from time to time. Once a neighbor, always a neighbor. Good luck Mr. Monsma, your school family loves you!