ALittle Rock, Arkansas: Two Incredible Days

By Tony Mussari

I am writing this note from Arkansas. It will never do justice to what we have experienced here.  In less than two days, we recorded eight Face of America episodes. We had a teaching moment at the historic Central High School. We visited with the Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, and we presented the 9/11 National Remembrance Flag to an archivist at the Clinton Presidential Library.

Far more important to us is the fact that we formed relationships with people that will last a lifetime, and bring us back to Little Rock for a screening of our Face of America project.

It might be hard to believe this, but most of what happened to us in Little Rock happened because of something I tried to teach to every student who took my Senior Seminar class.

It’s a simple lesson that I learned at home: “Always say thank you.”  The
Importance of gratitude was reinforced in an article I read entitled: “The art of saying thank you.”

How does this apply to our stay in Little Rock? you ask.

The answer is simple.

Shortly after we arrived, we went to a restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. The food at Dizzys was excellent and the service was just about perfect in every way. I felt compelled to say thank you, and I asked to see the owner.

As you might expect, the waitress obliged, and in a few moments Casey Huhie was sitting with us at our table. He introduced us to his wife, Darla, who is the force that makes Dizzy’s what it is, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We had instant rapport with Darla.  She liked the concept of our Face of America project.  She promised to look at our website.

We had a very good feeling about Darla and her husband, Casey, and so we decided to extend our stay in Little Rock an extra day.

The next morning we received a note and a call outlining some of the people Darla had arranged for us to meet.

Our whirlwind visit began at the place where the dark pages of our past ended for

our country and a bright future began for our country in 1957. In every sense of the word, this building is a magnificent monument to equality for all.  As Kitch and I walked along the hallways of this 85 year old high school, we could feel the spirit of the nine youngsters who withstood unimaginable pressures to help our nation cross the bridge to opportunities guaranteed for everyone in America.

The principal of Central High School, Nancy Rousseau, is a charming woman who welcomed us into the Central family.  She went out of her way to make our visit a positive and productive experience. Nancy is an educator’s educator.  She is bright, interesting and full of ideas that are designed to make education relevant to the students at Central.

Before we left the school, we presented the 9/11 National Remembrance Flag to the students of Central High School past and present. Nancy Rousseau intends to hang the flag in the hallway outside the principal’s office.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sometimes the face of America can best be found in two words, Thank You.

In our next report from the road, Kitch and I will tell you about our memorable visit to Little Rock.

Until the next time, we hope that all of your stories have happy endings.

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