Elementary School Reunion

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

I ran into a classmate from 5th grade... and she has a class picture!

I love running into friends from years ago.  About a year ago I saw two in one day at Twistars in DeWitt.  I was chit-chatting with another parent while our daughters were in gymnastics class when she suddenly dropped the bomb on me that she is the former Kristen Koenig of David Scott Elementary in DeWitt.  We were in 3rd grade together and she had a crush on my best friend Dan Konopnicki.  On the way out, she pointed out Ron Slater, a buddy from Cub Scouts who lived down the street.  His daughter was also in gymnastics and I caught up with him too, even though the whole time I couldn't help but remember how it was he who was responsible for the scar on my tongue when he punched me for a reason I can't remember.  It was awesome though how it brought back a flood of memories-- especially since I can still see the resemblance in them of the child they were 25 years before.  Although, Kristen now goes by the name of K.C. (she's cool like that) and now my wife and I have become good friends with her and her husband Terry.

Fast forward to last weekend at the Children's Miracle Network telethon at Sparrow.  Who comes up to say hi afterward, but Angela VanWormer from Mrs. Russell's 5th grade class at Anna Maria Elementary.  So you're not confused, my mom moved us to Anna Maria Island, Florida after 3rd grade (she was never a fan of the winters here.)  Angela lived down the road from me and we had the same bus stop at one point.  Later in middle school, Ang was witness to my continuous clashes with our crusty old bus driver lady.  She and her family now live in Michigan.  Talk about a small world!  She dropped me an email this week and attached our class photo which I don't think I ever had.  I love talking about my elementary school days.  Angela even mentioned how she still remembers my "Betty Crocker" speech.  In 4th and 5th grade we had to give a speech on something and that year mine was about my experience back in DeWitt in Cub Scouts.  I forgot about the bake sale and tried to bake a cake one night by myself because my mom was at work.  It ended disastrously, but made a very funny speech called "My Date with Betty Crocker," thanks to Mrs. Russell.  I won the school competition and went on to win the Manatee County competition and it was really the start of my love for public speaking.  The other story I love about Anna Maria Elementary is my first day there in 4th grade.  We didn't have much money, so I didn't dress the best.  At some point I used the word "pop" in reference to a soft drink which ended in plenty of laughter from the kids who had no idea what I was talking about.  It's "soda" down there.  So, there I am on my way out to recess, hanging my head embarrassed, dressed funny, wondering what the heck a soda is and getting picked last for the game of kickball.  My first time up, I boom one into the trees for a home run.  The next day I was picked first. 

As for this picture... that's me second from the left in the back row.  Angela is in the first row to the right of the class sign in white.  Some names jump right out, like Reed Bailey (fourth from the right in the back row) and Beckett Kirk (3rd from the right in the first row).  Two of my best friends and together we won a state soccer championship a few years later.  Beckett is a male model now, I hear.  Melissa Duncan is the redhead two down from me and came in second in the speech contest.  I don't know the reason I'm laughing, but it probably has something to do with Brad Blackburn (next to me) and Doug Ewing (2nd row, 2nd from left).  I have a lot of great slumber party memories with Doug, Reed, Beckett and Jesse Buri (sitting on grass, 1st from right) that usually involved us getting into trouble.  Shannon Boyd (2nd row, far right) was one of two girls who played little league and was better than most of the boys.  I think we were boyfriend-girlfriend for awhile, too.  Shannon Zambito (2nd row, 3rd from left) and I were definitely boyfriend-girlfriend and I remember thinking she had the coolest name ever.  My first french kiss ever came in 6th grade with Becky Butler (1st row, 2nd from left).  "Careless Whisper" by George Michael was playing on VH1.  Wow. 

Now I think I'm just writing for myself.  This is one of those times I wish my mom was still here because she'd get a real kick out of this story.  Anyway, I know it's tough to see the photo, but the blog only allows pics of 15 KB or smaller, so if I can find a way to improve it I will.  Right now, I'm more concerned with finding a way to get back to the Island and that view of the Tampa Bay I had everyday from Mrs. Russell's class. 

Maybe next week I'll scan my Kiwanis team picture from little league and give you a real laugh.

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  • by Jason on Feb 18, 2009 at 06:42 PM
    Beckett-- gotta get my your email! I been trying to track you down along with Reed for years. jason.colthorp@wilx.com. Problem is this post goes off the page and I can never check it.
  • by Beckett Kirk Location: San Diego, Ca on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:55 PM
    When? Where? and Why Not? I hope that everyone is doing well and also miss many of you dearly. Wishing you the best!!!
  • by Angela Location: everywhere on Aug 4, 2008 at 10:11 PM
    Can anyone tell me where to find Dan Konopnicki???
  • by Tami Location: Las Vegas, NV on Aug 3, 2008 at 03:45 PM
    I just moved again and recently had this photo out remembering the good old days. Mine is covered with I love Beckett and Shannon and Tami BFF's forever. A reunion would be fun. I helped a bit doing my 10 year high school reunion so if you need help let me. I hope everyone is well and it will be great to hear from everyone...
  • by Jason Location: Newsroom on Jul 7, 2008 at 07:32 PM
    Holy crap! I turn my back on this post for 5 minutes and it's bedlam! Reunion-- absolutely! Ed-- I still remember you knocking 3 goals against us one game and you trying to teach me "Who's Cryin' Now" on your keyboard. Shannon-- reunion for sure... I emailed Mrs. Russell/Kinnan and got a response but that was it. Michele-- if by crush you mean you two were in l-o-v-e, then yeah, I remember that crush. Amanda-- sorry, I really didn't want to win. jason.colthorp@wilx.com - everybody drop me a line so we can at least catch up and maybe hook up a reunion!
  • by Ed Stork Location: Orlando Fl on Jul 3, 2008 at 06:13 AM
    Hello Jason, I agree with Shannon. We should make an elementary reunion happen. I remember playing soccer with you. Were you on a team with Ray Stout?
  • by Michele Fouts Location: Vermont on Jul 2, 2008 at 09:47 AM
    Hi Jason, Shannon sent me this link and wow it is so fun to read your comments and see the picture. I was 2 years behind you and had a huge crush on your brother Ryan. I think an elementary reunion would be great! Mrs. Russell also worked her magic with my speech and I won the county contest as well. Great memories!
  • by Amanda Parks Location: Washington, DC on Jul 1, 2008 at 03:55 PM
    Hey Jason! Shannon forwarded me this link. I don't remember what my speech was about, I just know I was mad that I lost! Let's get going on planning that Anna Maria reunion.
  • by Shannon Zambito Location: Seattle, WA on Jun 30, 2008 at 10:26 PM
    Jason!! Hello! I just ran across this by accident and couldn't believe it! I was just emailing with Ed Stork about a month ago, on how it would be way cooler to have an Elementary school reunion instead of High school, and how we really liked everyone from Anna Maria. I'm so thrilled to run across this! Is there any way for you to write me back? I miss that school too, and I'm pretty sure Mrs. Russell, is still there as Ms. Kinnan. I was just there when you wrote this. Crazy! Glad you're still entertaining people. I remember my speech from that class still too. :)
  • by Angela Prelesnik Location: Mason, MI on Jun 10, 2008 at 06:43 AM
    Great memories! Your viewers might like to hear you recite the "Betty Crocker" speech. Don't forget about the time capsule that our class put together in 1984, and it is to be opened in 2084. Yikes! The school has been rebuilt, but the site where the time capsule was placed is still there and it can be seen when you drive by the school. I still like visiting Anna Maria Island and taking the kids to the beach. It was a great place to grow up. Thanks for the story. Angela
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