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Rev. 21-Jul-2009 12:03:58

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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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Heather O'Darrow aka Heather Darrow ("Heather the Tomboy"), Greg Sabala.
(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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Heather O'Darrow, Chaz Boston Baden aka Charles Baden.
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Heather O'Darrow, formerly known as Heather "The Tomboy" Darrow.
(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)


Dear Mr. Amble:

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. You have been truly blessed by God to teach and reach children. The impact that you have had on us will be your legacy for generations to come. I can't begin to tell you how many times I wanted to write this letter to you, to thank you for all that you did for me almost 30 years ago. You will never know how grateful I am for the life lessons that you taught me.

I still remember when I first met you, just a few days before the start of school. You were setting up your room and Max Marold was there, sporting a crew cut. You had long hair and a mustache, which seemed very strange to me. You were funny and kind from that first moment that we met and I knew right away that I was going to enjoy being in your class. Your class, our class, became a haven for me. I looked forward to going to school every single day.

What you didn't know was what was going on in my personal life at that time. I was lonely; I had just moved to Costa Mesa prior to the start of School and I didn't know anyone my own age. I was sad; My parents had split up my four brothers and I after a difficult divorce. I was hurt; My Mother had just moved away to Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific with 3 of my brothers. I would only see them once over the next 11 years. I was angry; my Stepmother would physically, verbally and emotionally abuse me when my father wasn't around. On a daily basis, she would tell me that I was "too dumb and fat to ever amount to much." In her eyes, I could not do anything right at home. After a while, I started to believe it. And then I started 5th Grade...

In your class, I learned that you could be rewarded for "trying" and not just for "succeeding." You did this through positive reinforcement and encouragement. You taught me the importance of teamwork through newspaper drives and projects. You taught me that being an individual is OK. You showed me the importance of accepting people for who and what they are, no matter how different they may be (with Charles, Bill and Roberto in particular.) You taught me not to be afraid of failure through Toastmasters and our poetry contest. You gave me an appreciation for the Beatles and Wings, that I still have today. You taught me to play Heart Soul on the piano and other songs that I have since taught my children. Most importantly, you taught me that I wasn't "too dumb or too fat to ever amount to much" through Toastmasters.

The confidence that I gained in myself after winning those two trophies in Toastmasters has stayed with me to this day. I went on to win public speaking competitions, competed nationally in Junior Achievement business courses, performed in choirs and bands, won scholarships, completed my BA degree from U.C.I., completed my MBA degree with honors from U.S.C. and have gone into business for myself; all thanks to you helping me to believe in myself. Of all the things you could have taught me, that was the greatest gift of all.

There is another important impact that our class had on me, life-long friendships. I still see or talk with Duncan Millar, Roberto Jara and Steve Carlson.

I agree with Roberto that riding on your truck while collecting newspapers for the paper drive is one of my fondest memories. I can't believe that you got rid of that truck! Our trip to the Zoo was another great memory. I remember you demonstrating your psychic abilities to the class, giving answers to questions sealed in envelopes (since I helped you on one of those performances I know how you did it, but I promise not to tell.) I remember how you use to let us put our school stuff in cardboard boxes that we set up like little lockers in the back of the room.

You will always be my favorite Teacher and one of my favorite people. Thank you for all that you have done for me and many others like me. I can never repay you for the positive influence that you had on my life, at a time when I really needed it. I can only promise you that I will try to do the same for other children, as you did for me.

God bless you Buzz. Thank you so much for everything. I hope that you enjoy your retirement and that you keep in touch.

Best wishes,

Greg Sabala
(5th Grade class, 1973-1974)

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