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Hi, my name is Ally Barry and I am a mother to three children. Two of them currently attend HBR elementary school. Emersen is in 3rd grade, Emmett is in Kindergarten, and Emery is 3 years old. 

Our family moved into this community in February of 2020. One month prior to the world shutting down. So we spent our summer enjoying the outdoors and learning the area better. But when it came time for school the following year, fall of 2020, it was not only a difficult change for my child, I was scared. We had moved here for the school district and all the great things we had heard about it but ultimately, I was sending her to a new school that I had only walked in twice. A school, that I had never met any of the teachers, barely met the staff and didn’t know any of the students. But the first day came and went and she loved it, thankfully. 

After that day though, I decided I was going to be involved in the school and community. As much as I could be. Not only me but my husband, Patrick, as well. 

Over the past few years we have become involved in many ways, but one of the best ways I learned about the community was being a substitute teacher at the school. I didn’t get to just speak to the teachers over email and/or two times a year at conferences. But I really got to know them, not just as teachers but as friends. I have watched the teachers and administrators calm situations, give hugs when needed and show amazing kindness. All are qualities that I am so happy my kids are seeing, and learning. 

But I have not just learned so much about the teachers and staff; I have also learned about my children. I get to see their personalities at school, which by the way is completely different than their “at home” personalities. I get to see their interactions with the teachers and staff, and vice versa. I get to see who their friends are and how they handle situations. For example, I got to see Emmett try to come to the nurse’s office multiple times in a day because he found out they have the good peppermints. It’s moments like that that I will look back on and laugh, but a moment I would not have known about had I not been a substitute. 

Being a substitute aside, as a parent I have only ever hoped to raise children that are kind, thoughtful, stand up for who they are and be true to themselves. Now, after being a part of the school, I know the teachers and staff have those same hopes for our children. I am thankful we have been welcomed in and we can say HBR is our community.