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Seen and Heard Around the Conference

Our Favorite Old-timer

Peter Corona, the Energizer Bunny in the AASA membership ranks, maintained his unchallenged and unbroken record in Los Angeles of attending AASA annual conferences. He’s been to every one since 1959.

Behind his blue eyes are a trove of stories about helping out students who were frustrated and in need, of resourceful thinking to bring computers to a struggling district. And then there was that time in the 1980s when he took an assistant superintendent gig at Emery School District in Oakland, Calif., thinking it would just be temporary — until the superintendent walked off without notice.

Corona, who is 90 and still teaches fitness classes at a local shopping mall, loves to recount his stories among the members of the Conference Daily Online staff. And staff members lend their ears willingly to those tales.

All of his professional and personal experiences add up to several books’ worth of leadership advice. One of Corona’s big takeaways when it comes to seeking help from legislative leaders is: “It doesn’t matter if they’re a Republican or a Democrat. You’ve got to fight for your kids.”

Reunited Property

The Info Kiosk, staffed by AASA’s Tammy Barbara in the convention center lobby, has been a collection point this week for lost and found items.

Among her most memorable reconnection of lost property to its rightful owner was a weathered Boston Bruins cap. The latter was turned in on the opening day of the AASA conference, and on the second, but it was toward the end of Day 2 that a conference attendee sheepishly approach Barbara and asked if his treasured ice hockey cap had been turned in.

“It was sort of like a favorite stuffed teddy bear being reunited with its owner,” Barbara reported.

School Lunches With New Looks and Tastes

You couldn’t overlook the stand in the AASA Exhibit Hall that looked as if it was serving the latest tapas and small bites. Roasted beets tossed with shreds of carrot and apple beckoned brightly. Grilled cheese triangles dipped in tomato bisque soup evoked childhood memories.

Six regional chefs at Chartwells, a school meals service, came up with the menu of options to serve more than 2 million meals per day to students around the country. The company, a subsidiary of the Charlotte, N.C.-based food service Compass, recently began a program in which students get to choose two new selections for their school lunch menus, said Ingrid Smith, a company representative.

Conference attendees in Los Angeles got to sample the trendy choices.

(Compiled by Jay P. Goldman, editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online, with contributions from Emily Gersema.)

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