Snowflakes: A Life Lesson

  • Snowflakes: A Life Lesson
    by Michael Loberfeld '97
    It was 1983-1984.  I was in the special education pre-kindergarten class at Brunner Elementary School.  It was a glorious morning or afternoon, with the light shining in through the windows, and another light, the light of creation on all our faces.  All days were glorious and magical.  This particular day, we were making paper snowflakes...yes, with those little scissors we had, with the colored handles, our work aided, and our hands guided by the compassion of our teachers.  I think it had to do with folding, cutting, and then unfolding the paper, to make a snowflake.
    I remember the pre-K classroom.  The number of days left in the school year, was posted on the bulletin board....180 being such a high number to start with, it felt like the school year would last for ages.
    A powerful image in my mind I still recall: on the first day back to school in January, "1983" (the year that had just passed), and then, in larger size, "1984" (the year that was only a few days old) was written on the green black board in white chalk, the teachers explaining that it was a new year.  I guess everything starts out as new at one time!
    I remember the teacher's aide one morning saying how she never wants to get up in the morning, always wants to sleep more.  I, being 5 years old, could not relate!  'Doesn't everyone love to get up in the morning?', I thought.
    Anyhow, back to the snowflakes.  The teachers spoke for at least 5 minutes.  They started by posing the question to our growing minds, "Do you think your snowflake is the same as anyone else's snowflake?"  They then continued, with wonder, describing to us that no two snowflakes are the same, neither in this classroom, nor in nature.  Even flakes that might appear similar, if you look at under a microscope, they're different.  Isn't it amazing, that just like snowflakes, no two people are the same, we're all unique- there will never be another person exactly like you, the teachers continued.  At the time, I remember sitting there, my small body in my small chair, thinking: 'these teachers are really talking a lot! what point are they trying to make?'
    However, now, looking back, I get the lesson- I absolutely get it.  In fact, I myself have grown to be amazed by the same idea.  The teachers were sharing their love of life, instilling wonder in the younger generation.  Education is not only about 'A, b, c's' and '1,2,3s' it is also about communicating love to children who will love their own children one day.  My education in the SPF school district has successfully made me a thinker, a wonderer, a lover of this miracle of life.  So many of our teachers throughout our entire time in school were doing this- sharing enthusiasm, making their Wonder Ours.  Those teachers are retired now, but I, but we, carry forth their torch of shining for snowflakes, and for people.
    Michael invites you to email him at
    What memories do You have of your education?  Any defining experiences or favorite teachers?  How has education changed your life?  Please email your writing to, so that we can consider posting it here on the SPFHS Alumni Association website.  Thank you!