Often enough, our readers pick up this editorial page and read about the importance of community. How our neighborhoods thrive relies much on those who shoulder the burden of keeping it up. And, of course, many hands make light work. Some of those carrying the load of responsibility are more visible than others — police, firefighters, members of local government — while others remain more in the background.
We met a couple who has remained in the background, relatively. Gus and Noreen Cadieux both pursued a career in education by establishing a local Montessori program that ultimately settled on Delmar’s Hudson Avenue. More than 30 years later, they have taught more than 1,200 students, some of which include a few generations of their own family.
As with the Montessori method, children are exposed to tactile tools that stimulate the senses. Lessons are initiated through the student’s own natural curiosity. It’s far from the conventional methods of learning, including Common Core curriculum, as of late. It calls for a more intimate approach and involves lots of patience.
They close the doors on their program today, this Wednesday, and as they have prepared, Noreen expresses concern more than joy. For years, part of their income has gone towards charity, specifically the poor in Latin America. It’s an area of the world the two know well. When they were younger, they spent three years volunteering. Now, thoughts of not being able to contribute as much is in the forefront of her mind, instead of vacations and day trips to the beach.
That volunteer spirit was passed on to their three grown children, each of whom spent their lives with a broader conscience of the world than their peers. And, the children who attended Blossoms was introduced to that same need to foster community.
A good benchmark to a life well lived is to look back and see how many people you’ve impacted in a positive way. Unfortunately for most of us, that’s a moment we never see. For the Cadieuxs, they recently attended a potluck dinner for all who attended their school. Scores of current students, their parents and grown alumni arrived. “It was great to see so many of our kids… flourishing,” said Gus.
Funny, there’s an old saying that goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but that doesn’t quite fit the end of this story. In fact, it’s the opposite. In the case of the Cadieuxs, the two raised a village.