Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Loss of an Icon

 Rosie Parmigiani aka Mama Keystone

I barely knew you. Don't get me wrong, I knew of you, but I barely knew you. You were/are the icon. The heart and soul of Keystones and PAECT. I remember that first PETE&C I attended back before I really understood what type of community I had walked into. I was an outsider, but to you I was another young teacher looking to improve my craft.

I sat down at the banquet that year with other people from Southeast and immediately I heard stories about Mama. We met briefly and you introduced yourself and welcomed me to the family. Maybe at most we spent five minutes talking. The following day you said hi to me in passing with warm smile.

A year later, I came up to PETE&C the day early for the KTI pre-summit. When I walked past you, you not only said hi but you remembered my name. With so many "children", it really amazed me that Mama not only remembered me but she took a moment to ask how everything was including details from a single conversation the year before. This is how it continued. I only saw Mama annually at PETE&C, and once at ISTE, but each time she would take the time to make you feel welcomed and encouraged. Mama just had that way about her.

She spoke to everyone and took the time to make sure each person felt welcome and included. Whether you were a first year teacher or a retired veteran, you mattered. Mama never spoke about herself, it was always about her children and we are all her children.

The last time I saw Mama was in February at PETE&C in Pittsburgh. As always, she was riding around in her scooter and not letting anything slow her down. When we spoke about Pittsburgh, Mama said she came a few days early to spend time with her family that lived on the west side of the state.

Mama may be gone, but her legacy will live on through every student and teacher that she mentored. I know I am a better educator for knowing her, no matter how brief.

Mama will always be there for all of us. (@rosieparm)

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