Dear Cricket Editor:  

During these recent weeks of social distancing and quarantining, many celebrations have been postponed, cancelled altogether, or carried on in much more subdued fashion than during normal Spring seasons in the past.  With that said, I wanted to draw the community’s attention to two women who have undoubtedly impacted just about every family or child that has journeyed through the halls of Manchester Memorial Elementary School for the past 30 or so years. Specifically, I want to give a community-wide shout out to Mrs. Cindy MacDougall and Mrs. Cindy Dodge.  Both of our beloved Cindys retired at the end of this challenging school year. 

For decades, Mrs. MacDougall has welcomed the youngest, newest members of MMES with her kind smile and open arms in the Kindergarten classrooms. She has greeted students at the front door morning after morning, in all kinds of weather, year after year and has probably received more morning hugs than any other member of our community! Regardless of whether Cindy was reading to her Kindergarten students, accompanying them to an art class, lunch or recess, or being called on to pitch hit in any classroom when subs were in short supply, Cindy MacDougall’s warmth and passion for children and education is evident. 

Mrs. Cindy Dodge has held different roles during her decades at MMES – both in the classroom as a Teacher’s Aide and more recently as Administrative Assistant to the Principal.  Though “Administrative Assistant” doesn’t quite explain what Mrs. Dodge’s role is at Memorial!  There are many moving parts to running a school (esp. during construction and COVID 19!) and Cindy Dodge has been the engine that has kept those parts chugging along for years.  Regardless of what crises or last-minute tasks that pop up on any given day, Cindy’s visible interest in every MMES student she spoke to never wavered.  Every single one of her colleagues has leaned on Cindy Dodge for everything from getting P.O.’s processed to organizing school events to emotional support during personal setbacks – and playing the gracious hostess to staff celebrations over and over through the years. 

And finally, both Cindy MacDougall and Cindy Dodge share a sense of humor that has made working alongside them an absolute joy for their colleagues! In lieu of a traditional retirement party with staff, there was a car parade of staff members to wish our Cindys well one hot afternoon this past June.  But I feel certain knowing the MBTS community and the role these two beautiful women have played in our little town, that there are many others beyond their colleagues who would not want to let their retirements go unnoticed. So I am writing this open letter to the MBTS community to invite you all to drop a note to Mrs. Dodge and Mrs. MacDougall or stop them (at a socially safe distance) if you see them on the street, in Crosby’s, etc., no matter what your age, no matter how long ago they impacted your life, and just wish them all that they deserve in the years to come – and for our two Cindys, they both deserve only the VERY best!  MMES will never forget Mrs. MacDougall and Mrs. Dodge and how they both made our little schoolhouse feel more like “home” each day. 

Best,

Samantha Silag 

Manchester Memorial School Librarian 

Manchester