By Maureen Robertson
BREAKFAST IN THE PARK—Habits are sometimes hard to break. Perhaps that’s the reason retired and other former Ramona Unified School District employees meet on the first day of each school year — but they don’t go to work. They share breakfast in Collier Park.
It’s a tradition that started about 20 years ago, as retired Hanson Lane Elementary School teacher Dotty Cronin recalls. “A group of former employees decided it would be fun to meet for breakfast on the first day of school,” she said, adding that she wasn’t invited that year. She was on the Ramona school board then.
The breakfasts started at Denny’s, then moved to Kountry Kitchen and later Sizzler. Each year seemed to attract more people, and one year Esther Ransom suggested Collier Park at Sixth and E street. For that, they’d need a caterer. Barbara Mason, who had just retired from the district, had worked with the cafeteria crew, “so we moved to the park,” said Cronin.
Ransom previously had tasked Cronin with compiling a list of all former school district employees. Cronin was the only one who had a computer at the time. There are about 363 names with contact information on Cronin’s list. She uses it to notify everyone about a month before the annual Back to School Breakfast in the Park as well as about general comings and goings of those on the list. Three or four years ago, retired Ramona High School counseling office secretary Jolene Dayton volunteered to help with the list, so the two are now known as the “list keepers.”
This year’s breakfast will be in the park at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, the first day of the 2011-12 school year. Mason and “her wonderful crew” will prepare a delicious breakfast, the notice reads, and RSVPs are requested by Aug. 22 so organizers can prepare. Cost of the breakfast is $10 per person. To RSVP, contact Cronin at 760-789-0990, 760-685-1760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those unable to be at the breakfast are encouraged to send a note to let everyone know what’s new. All the notes will go into a packet that will be passed around for all to see.