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A parting gift

As Carol Kruckeberg’s kindergarten class at Greywolf Elementary School sang songs for parents and grandparents on the last full day of class, the teacher was struck with emotion. “Mrs. K, I love you this much!” one boy told her between songs, spreading his arms as far as they would go and causing his teacher to grow misty.

After a teaching career that spanned four decades and saw the opening of Greywolf, Kruckeberg retired this year and didn’t want to end without giving her students something to remember her by.

“There’s nobody like them,” Kruckeberg told the visitors of her students. “What I decided to make is just like these kids — one of a kind.”

Laboring for weeks, Kruckeberg made “Scrappies” for her students — handmade dolls made of cloth and stuffed. Each had the student’s name written on it, along with a special message: “If I taught forever, I’d never find another you. Love, Mrs. K.”

Although decades of teaching kindergartners might seem exhausting or monotonous to some, Kruckeberg insisted that each year, even each day, has been full of surprises.

“Every year I get something totally new,” she said. “It’s been a great job. I am no good at endings and this is the hardest one yet.”

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