It was 20 years ago when I concluded my time as a student at Irving School. I left with lots of good memories. I think of enjoyable art projects with Ms. Johnson; learning about Croatia from Mrs. Zivko, my Croatian fourth-grade teacher; and Opera for the Young. Ms. Brown, who just retired, made fifth-grade science class fun.

I got a great start to my time at Irving 25 years ago with the longtime kindergarten teacher Ms. Gullo, who is truly legendary in the Irving community. She made learning an enjoyable experience. I have fond memories of starting my studies of Spanish with her, the Friday activity stations, and the celebration of the 100th day of the school year. Toward the end of the school year, we went on a field trip to the Maze Branch of the Oak Park Public Library (OPPL), where we learned about the library and got our first library cards.

That library card opened up whole new worlds for me, giving me access to books that led me to lifelong enjoyment of reading. The children’s summer reading program especially made reading fun. OPPL continued to provide character-building opportunities when I volunteered as a teen, and later when I worked there while launching my MLIS career.

I am grateful for the ways these institutions, and their people, shaped me as a person.

Paul Rubio
Oak Park

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