A longtime teacher’s classroom legacy

Karen Stolberg returns to Union Ridge Elementary School for Take Your Parent to School Day

RIDGEFIELD — Karen Stolberg was happy to visit Union Ridge Elementary for Take Your Parent to School Day.  And she has an interesting connection to her granddaughter’s second grade teacher, Sara Eastham.  Stolberg was actually Eastham’s teacher when she was in elementary school.

Union Ridge Elementary School teacher, Sara Eastham (at left) with Karen Stolberg, her teacher when she attended elementary school in Ridgefield. Photo courtesy of Ridgefield School District
Union Ridge Elementary School teacher, Sara Eastham (at left) with Karen Stolberg, her teacher when she attended elementary school in Ridgefield. Photo courtesy of Ridgefield School District

Eastham, a Ridgefield native, said, “Ms. Stolberg — she was Anderson then — was my third-grade teacher at South Ridge.”

Stolberg smiled.  “I can tell you she was a really good student.”

“But I was really, really, really shy!” Eastham laughed.

Stolberg taught in the Ridgefield School District for 34 years; Eastham was one of many students.  But Eastham was in one of Stolberg’s first classes as a teacher, so she remembers it well. Stolberg is glad to spend time with her former student and thrilled that Eastham became a teacher too.  “We’ve stayed in touch all these years,” she said. “I’m so proud of her!”

Eastham remembered going to visit Stolberg’s home.  “I would take groups of four or five students home with me as a reward — with their parents’ permission of course.  We couldn’t take students home with us now!” Stolberg laughed. When Eastham became a teacher herself, she created a similar reward activity she calls Secret Lunch, where students can have lunch with her in the classroom instead of the cafeteria.

Interestingly, Stolberg’s granddaughter is not the first member of her family to have Eastham as a teacher.  Eastham also taught Stolberg’s son, Nick, when he was in elementary school. The connection between the two families is a surprising and wonderful legacy in the school district.

As Stolberg and Eastham reminisced about their connection over the years, Stolberg’s granddaughter gazed up at them.  Who knows? With such great inspiration, maybe someday she will decide to be a teacher too.

Information provided by Ridgefield School District.

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