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Like everyone else, she filed out of the gym and soon found herself surrounded by a sea of well-wishers, friends and family and faculty in suits and dresses, everyone searching for this or that graduate. It was in this swarm she bumped into her Lower School gym teacher, a woman who once taught her to skip while listening to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” on vinyl. “I ran into Mrs. Benes in the hallway and we spent a quick minute catching up,” remembers Morris. “We talked about what was happening in my career, my family, and how Prairie had set me up for success. I was quite emotional about everything. As I apologized, she said something that not only impacted me that weekend, but something that has stayed with me. She said, ‘It’s okay. Your emotions show that this mattered. All of this mattered.’” _____ There are so many Heather Morris’s. Earlier this year, when Bonnie announced her plans to retire, the memories and stories poured into the Communication Office. The teacher who always had time for you. The teacher who always had breakfast bars and oranges in her office. The teacher who always had a hug. The teacher who always asked how you were doing. The teacher with the open door policy. The teacher who knew you. The teacher who remembered you. “Bonnie had this way of making us feel like we were the best, most important family to ever walk the halls of Prairie,” says Sue Gaertig, whose children, Abby ’10, Anna ’13, Bobby ’15, and Bethany ’15 all attended TPS. “When I tell people that, they laugh and say she made them feel the same way. She has this gift for listening, for caring, for loving. She’s able to push aside the small things we get hung up on as parents and make us see that everything will be okay. She is every child’s biggest advocate.” So many Heather Morris’s. _____

There are two things that have really stuck with me about Mrs. Benes – the first being that she KNOWS the kids. Not only do my children attend Prairie, but my niece and nephew do, too. My children are eight years apart. When chatting with Mrs. Benes, not only did she know my Middle School child at the time, but she knew my Early School daughter and mentioned my nephew and my niece. She knew the relation and when each child would be attending Middle School. As someone who has a difficult time remembering names, this was not only impressive but shows that she truly cares. The second story involves lunch time. If you’ve ever been at the Middle School lunch hour, you will have witnessed Mrs. Benes only raising her hand to gain attention and the entire lunch room quiets down immediately. That’s respect from the children. That kind of respect is earned not through hard-edged discipline or yelling and screaming. Amy Giles-Maurer, Parent of Mackenzie-Kay Maurer ’26 and Brennan Huff ’18

Profile for ThePrairieSchool

Prairie | Volume 4 - Issue 2  

Prairie | Volume 4 - Issue 2  

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