Alumni Tribute to Class Teacher Kaaren Kip

Mrs. Kip was a key figure in the early years of Highland Hall, and served as an inspirational presence to all who knew her. We are appreciative of all the gifts she shared with our school community, and honor her memory in the words of her students.
“I met Mrs. Kip at the ripe age of six when she took on our first grade class. She stood tall and statuesque, always smartly dressed in bow-style blouses, knee length skirts and matching flats. Her glasses were fashionably cat-eyed and her thin lips tinted subtle shades of peach. I forever reflect on my early Highland Hall years as ones filled with great magic; the wonderment of playing the wooden recorder, shaping beeswax, shading main lesson books and harmonizing Christmas Noels. For eight years, the kind and dedicated Mrs. Kip was the person casting all those spells.
“Mrs. Kip was equally burdened by the task of teaching my class to multiply, read, spell and behave civilly, lessons not always embraced with grace, especially as our teen years commenced. As we entered junior high, many of our values shifted left and hormonally into high gear, causing clashes of ideals and wills with a seemingly conservative Mrs. Kip. Those however are not the memories I hold dear or vividly. She will forever be the person who gave me my earliest intelligence, and an immense appreciation for the soaring spirit and a broad awareness of the beauties both hidden and blatant in our world. I don't believe I ever said thank you either. Thank you Mrs. Kip. Thanks to you... I do behold the world, wherein there shines the sun, wherein there gleam the stars, wherein there lie the stones...”
--Michelle "Mimi" Teller Rosicky, Class of '81
"I remember my dear class teacher Mrs. Kip as a loving, compassionate role model and a master storyteller, sustaining the ancient method of educating the next generation, long before today’s new renaissance of storytelling began. My most vivid memories of elementary school were of our social studies “main lesson” blocks when history unfolded before my eyes. There would be a beautiful colored chalk drawing on the blackboard (Mrs. Kip was also a skilled artist as I recall), illustrating the day or week’s lesson: perhaps an indigenous north american basket weaver, or an Egyptian pyramid, or the great wooden horse poised at the gates of Troy, (depending on the grade) and then she would begin to tell us about the people and places we were studying. I was rapidly transported to the scene of action, I could feel the stillness of the forest, and marveled at the skill with which the Chippewa soundlessly tracked his game, or I felt the sun beating down on stone workers and scribes in Eqypt or thrilled with the intense excitement and fear of the warriors in the Trojan Horse. It was a shock often for me to discover I was in a classroom when the lesson ended. Because of Mrs. Kip’s passion for her job, it took me several grades to identify school as “work” at all, and a love of learning was a gift she gave me that has proved to be lifelong. I was the lucky recipient of her deep knowledge of our past and our connection to “Mother Earth” which encouraged a consciousness of human progress, empathy for others and stewardship of life on our planet. Thank you Mrs. Kip for being a passionate educator and an inspiring mentor to your students."
--Laurie Brousseau Freeman, class of '81
“Other than my parents, nobody was as influential in our early educational development as Mrs. Kaaren Kip. I had the pleasure of being in her class from the first through eighth grade. Mrs. Kip was a kind and good hearted woman who wanted nothing but to see her class succeed and always went the extra mile to help each and every one of us to get there. She helped us appreciate not only the essentials in life, but also the arts, crafts, and all different kinds of music.
Each one of us has special memories of those years with Mrs. Kip, as I have quite a few myself. I think back about all the books we read, the songs we sang, the instruments we played, the plays we performed in, the crafts we did, and the bake sales we had to raise money for the trips we took. Even though we are all very sad about the recent passing of Mrs. Kip, we all feel good to know she lived a rich and fulfilling life. She cared very much about our class and because of her teachings, and appreciation of the arts, it made us richer in knowledge and helped us to become the well rounded individuals we are today. Thank you.
--Scott Dourian, Class of ‘81
“Mrs. Kip was a gift. A gift to all the children she worked with through her career. I have rarely met a person with such a special way about them. She truly cared about every individual she touched. Having her as my teacher and ‘mother’ allowed me to become the person I am today. I was fortunate to be in her classroom for eight years and then in my senior year in high school she opened her home to me and let me live with her. She is with me everyday. She was a quiet, strong woman who generally appeared very sure of herself. She always seemed to know what direction she was going in. I think she tried to pass that strength on to her children and her students. She tried very hard to give us as many experiences as she could so that we were well rounded individuals. For all the people that she touched she will remain us with always. Her gift will live on in all of us.”
---Karen Taber, Class of ‘81