From the Superintendent: After Surgery, Humbled but Grateful

by | May 10, 2024

By Brian G. Ricca, Ed.D.

On Friday, April 19, I walked into the outpatient surgery center for my first-ever surgery. I felt pretty fortunate that for the first 49 years of my life, I did not need to be unconscious except for routine colonoscopies. I was nervous, to be sure, as I had no idea what to expect that day or in the subsequent ones as I recovered. While I walked in on my own, I was pushed back to my car in a wheelchair for my ride home. 

It’s humbling to be that vulnerable, and for the bulk of the days following, I could do very little on my own. I was relying on My Wife for even my most basic needs. Slowly, over the past two weeks, I was able to regain my strength and start to feel like a person who can take care of himself. It’s very humanizing to be in a position where someone else has to do almost anything for you. 

Besides being humbled by this experience, I was full of gratitude: 

  • I have a job in EGPS that comes with tremendous health care, which allowed me to have the surgery in the first place. 
  • We have an excellent staff in the District Office and a thoughtful Leadership Team that sent me care packages full of fruit and yummy snacks, for me and My Family. They also sent crossword puzzles and sudokus to ensure that my brain didn’t turn to mush while I recovered. 
  • EGPS has an assistant superintendent, and Michael Podraza brilliantly led the district in my absence. 
  • Even though my inbox had more than 870 messages waiting for me, the work continued in our district. We have marvelous employees who do the work of education every day on behalf of the students and their families in East Greenwich. 

With thirty-five days of teaching and learning left in our school year, there is still plenty of work to be done. In early June, we will celebrate the Graduating Class of 2024 from East Greenwich High School. There will be moving-up ceremonies for our 8th graders, our 5th graders, and our 2nd graders. We will work smarter, not harder, as the days become warmer and longer and the allure of summer becomes stronger. This is the work of education. 

Even if I still can’t put on my socks by myself. 

Brian G. Ricca, Ed.D., is the superintendent of East Greenwich Public Schools.

Feature photo by Radek Skrzypczak / Unsplash

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