Ruffing Montessori
Rocky River

Reunion Recap

by Vince O’Keefe

Many thanks to all of you who attended the 2016 Ruffing Reunion! Over two hundred alumni from several different decades came. Some brought their parents, others brought their children, but all brought their warm memories of Ruffing. Many teachers also attended (including former teachers Faye Krebs and Norm McKay) The stormy weather forced the buffet into Debbie Butterfield’s classroom (thanks Debbie!), but that did not dampen people’s spirits.

For those of you who were unable to make the event, all alumni are invited to view photos from the event at the following websites. Photos are available for purchase directly from the sites:

Poses A Studio: Visit Password: Ruffing

Shutterbooth:   Visit

My favorite decoration at the reunion was a simple document I found while reading through the Ruffing archives. In blue, mimeographed ink that used to be called a “ditto,” the page details the modest origins of our school: “During the summer of 1959 a group of five people began a program of stimulating interest in the Montessori method of education in the Cleveland area. The initial step in this program was to compile a mailing list of approximately 150 people… On August 15, 1959 an introductory letter was sent out. An article on some phase of the Montessori method of education was distributed approximately every two weeks until March, 1960. . . [culminating in] a first meeting of a steering committee to determine the best means of financing a Montessori school in the Cleveland area in July, 1960.”

This document once again supports the famous assertion of American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So we can all take pride in the many ways that Ruffing’s alumni continue to change the world, rather than wait for the world to change. A small example of their Montessorian independence occurred late in the reunion, when the rain had finally stopped and I discovered that many alumni were now playing baseball on the new turf (see photo on reverse). A little (or even a lot) of rain was not going to stop the irrepressible desire of Ruffing grads to play baseball on their old stomping grounds. Talk about a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Updated Resources for Alumni

Website: We now have a new, more user-friendly website for alumni to enjoy! Features under the “Alumni” tab include updated Ruffing events as well as archived Alumni Bulletins and other relevant Montessori resources.

Facebook: Our “Ruffing Montessori Alumni (Rocky River)” Facebook page now has over 145 members! If you are on Facebook, please request to join this closed group (  If you know fellow alumni on Facebook, please let them know about the page!

Parent’s Digest: This quarterly e-publication provides a variety of resources related to both Montessori education and parenting. Each issue also features interviews with Ruffing alumni! If you would like to start receiving the Ruffing Parent’s Digest via e-mail, please let Lori Coticchia know. Feel free to contact either Lori or me with questions, news, or suggestions. We welcome all alumni updates!

Preferred Contact Info: We would like to make sure we are reaching your (or your child’s) preferred address. At your earliest convenience, please contact Lori Coticchia to update your preferred mailing and e-mailing information (E-mail, call Ruffing at 440-333-2250, or visit


Reunion Photo Montage

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