To hear Kathy (Smith, ‘76) Rowe tell it, she couldn’t leave CRA if she wanted to.
Fortunately for the school, and for its kindergartners past, present and future, the beloved “Mrs. Kathy” has no plans to go anywhere at all.
In appreciation for her 30 years of service to the school, CRA honored Rowe with its Employee of the Year award in December.
“CRA has been near and dear to my heart for 56 years,” Rowe said. “That’s a long time, but not really. Time definitely flies when you are having fun.”
From her first day as a CRA kindergartner back in 1963, to her graduation in 1976 and continuing every day as the school’s iconic Kindergarten teacher, Rowe has been having fun. That is, except for a small window of time.
“I left CRA for three years and taught in the public school system,” she said. “I missed CRA every day for three years. Luckily, I was able to come back and pick up where I left off.”
Rowe’s story is both unique and yet familiar. Her husband, Kevin Rowe, was a CRA kindergarten classmate all those years ago. Their children attended and graduated from CRA, as did several extended family members.
“CRA is a second home to our family,” Rowe said. “It gets in your blood and you can’t leave.”
An unabashed advocate for the school — one could say she sees CRA through “Rowe’s colored glasses” — the longtime educator wishes CRA were an option for more students.
“I wish every child could have the CRA experience like my family and I had,” she said. “It’s a little piece of Heaven on earth. I know we are not perfect, but we are close-knit family at CRA.”
CRA’s Employee of the Year award is presented at the school’s staff Christmas party each year. Other recent winners include Pam (Hanes, ‘82) Parker in 2018 and Leann (Douglas, ‘80) Pillow in 2017.