A common saying of Roger Rowe is that the best gift in life is to be remembered. Believing that, Rowe got one of the biggest gifts of all on March 18 as R. Roger Rowe School celebrated his 80th birthday.
The entire school came out to the center quad to fete Rowe with a cake, cupcakes, and birthday cards they had all signed. Teachers, parents, friends, neighbors and former students joined in on the special celebration.
"We're really lucky that we have him in our lives," said Superintendent Lindy Delaney.
Balloons and handmade birthday posters were hung all over and cameras endlessly clicked and flashed.
"You have made life particularly enjoyable for me and I thank you," Rowe said to all present.
A special friend
Rowe spent 43 years of his life at the Rancho Santa Fe School, starting out as a fifth grade teacher and leaving as the superintendent. The school was then renamed for him in 2001; an honor at which he once remarked "Wasn't that neat?"
When he started at the school, he said there were seven classrooms and 17 teachers. He said the phone number of every person who lived in Rancho Santa Fe could fit on a single sheet of paper.
Every morning, Rowe would raise the American flag on the flagpole in the middle of the school. On Wednesday, the students raised it in his honor.
"Life in a small town is very rewarding," said Rowe, noting how many friendships he has made and kept throughout the years.
The rewards on Wednesday were present in the countless hugs and handshakes, former students reintroducing their grown-up selves and Rowe congratulating each on their success. He sweetly shook hands with many current students, complimenting and encouraging them all.
He left the students with a wonderful Rowe message: "Take a look around today and say hello and thank you and be a special friend to each person you meet," Rowe said.