Saturday, March 8, 2014

San Carlos adults have 40-year reunion with elementary teachers

It's been a couple of decades since Forward Elementary School closed in the San Carlos neighborhood, but not only is the school remembered but three special teachers are still in the minds and hearts of school alumni.

Former Forward teachers Now-retired teachers James Baker, Bill Knapp and Ralph Graves were honored by the group San Carlos Survivors for their inspiration to their students, now adults aged 40+.

"These teachers were just so fantastic that the group wanted to see if we could find them," said Tamra Mendoza-Mode, who had the teachers in sixth grade. The trio were found, but not in time for the group's annual picnic, so a special breakfast was held later in the year.
In addition to a story in the local online newspaper, the trio also guested on KUSI-TV's Good Morning San Diego (watch video via Facebook, where there are more photos and comments.)

"You always wonder what happened to these people," said Baker. "Well, today we'll be able to meet some of them. It's a unique and honorable experience."

Baker was a teacher from 1961 to 1989 at Forward and Spreckels elementary schools. Graves was a teacher from 1956-94 at Forward, Hardy and Gage, retiring from San Diego Unified in 1988. He taught six more years at a private school after leaving the district. Knapp taught at Sessions, Fletcher and Forward elementary schools from 1958-91.

Baker told Mendoza-Mode, the organizer of the event, that he also wondered if he "did any good."

"Mr. Baker, I am here to tell you: Yes, you did a lot of good. We all want to say, thank you!" said Mendoza-Mode.