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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Chris Rush

Lower School Librarian

Know Your Pelicans

What is your favorite thing about Packer?

I have many favorite things about Packer... I really enjoy being with the students; their energy and excitement inspire me, and I learn so much from them every day. When my alarm goes off at 5 a.m., I groan, but as soon as I walk in the front door I am happy to be in this warm nurturing environment. My position is such that I know students sometimes from the Puppies to graduation and beyond (my daughters have babysat the children of some of their babysitters). That continuity and sense of community is one of the things I love.

Describe a favorite or memorable moment in the library at Packer.

I am a Libra, so I never have just one thought! Some of my favorite memories include everyday occurrences — when we are in the midst of a class discussion about a book and we run out of time and we all come away with some different perspectives.

Recently, a third grade student came back after I had suggested a book to him and he said it was the best book he had ever read and he couldn't put it down. (His mother reiterated that point to me separately.) I always feel that finding the right book is a mystery that needs solving with the clues I have at hand!

Last, but by no means least, was in 2004-5 when I held the Babbott Chair. I studied Japanese-American internment during World War II and the Japanese-American folklorist, Uchika Uchida, who, as a college student, was interned with her family.

Name a book/artwork/piece of music that changed your life and explain how.

I went to public schools in New York City. A high school teacher that stands out in my mind to this day is Mr. Rappaport. It was in his honors English class that we read about Gandhi, the Salt March, and peaceful Civil Disobedience. Our discussions were varied and heated and made us all question the status quo.

The song "Teach Your Children" by Crosby Stills and Nash comes to mind:

"You who are on the road/

Must have a code you can live by..."

I think my own sense of social justice was affected by many things, and I hope the materials I choose to share with my students reflect that.

What is something that most Packer people wouldn't know about you?

I am a classic rock fan with a huge vinyl collection — but no working turntable.

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