We mostly stuck to this schedule.
Dad's current class was a well-oiled machine setting up the displays.
Ready for party time.
The next eight pictures are just a small sampling of the nostalgia-inducing displays that were set up for browsing. This is not a well-rounded representation; I'm just posting the pictures that came out best. (I think I have pictures of every display; if anyone wants to see them all, post a comment with your email address and I'll send them to you.) There also was a slideshow set up onstage, and four or five televisions with videos of class plays and classics like "High Feather" were set up around the room.
Most or all of his classes have read "The Hobbit," "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Charlotte's Web" and other classics.
Every year Dad's students compile a "Humor Magazine," and he's saved every one. (Third-grade humor = not that funny, yet quite entertaining.)
Being a good steward of the Earth has always been important to Dad, and one way he instills this in his students is the SFL nature trail, which he developed and his classes maintain.
Farm Life was a K-8 school until about 12 or 15 years ago, and Dad coached 7th- and 8th-grade basketball, tennis and volleyball for years.
Dad's famous -- some would say infamous -- for catching snakes on the nature trail (and elsewhere) and giving snake shows at school.
Chipper, the class mascot, is named after Chipper Jones. Dad's students are encouraged to cheer for the Atlanta Braves and the Carolina Tar Heels.
One of my favorite parts of Dad's class was Eng Lang Pla (English Language Play).
Most of the party time was reserved for people to peruse the displays, reunite with former classmates and teachers and talk to Dad.
Kasey's mom was Dad's assistant for a staggering 18 years. Kasey and I went to school together from kindergarten through 12th grade, and in our early years we spent a lot of time playing together before and after school. Her mom and dad drove through the night from Massachusetts to be at the party.
Everyone who attended had a chance to write a note to Dad. Some were confidential; others Amanda and I read from the stage.
One girl simply wrote out this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote and concluded, "Mr. Loyd, consider yourself a success." I truly can't think of anyone who embodies this more fully than Dad.
At the end of every school year Dad's students write letters to the next year's students telling them what to expect in Mr. Loyd's class. Hundreds of these were strung across the windows.
I didn't get a good picture of it, but our family friend Debi surprised Dad by reading a poem she'd written in honor of his retirement.
Dad claimed the stage a couple of times during the party for part sing-along, part heartfelt speech, part comedy club, part memory lane. (I posted another video, of "Boom Boom Ain't It Great to Be Crazy," yesterday.) One of the neatest moments came when Dad presented his current assistant, Pam, with her own copy of "The Jack Tales," so that's one tradition that will be carried on next year.
When the party had started to die down, Dad led everyone in rounds of John Denver's "Friends, I Will Remember You."
At the very end, when only maybe 30 people were still there, the party concluded most appropriately -- with Dad giving a guided tour of the nature trail. This is Kaleigh and me in front of "Jack, Will and Tom."
All along the trail, Dad identified various plants for us. This cute girl is smelling a ginger leaf he gave her.
About to start cleanup. After we finished, Dad took the family out for dinner.
All in all, it was a wonderful celebration of an incredibly deserving man. We love you, Dad!