VIDEO: Shady Side Elementary’s Comic Club
When Frank Alansky retired from marketing a couple of years ago, he wasn’t quite sure what he’d be doing. He said that he thought about leaving Maryland, where he’d spent most of his professional life, and returning to New Jersey, but that thought didn’t last long. Maryland was now home.
Alansky had worked with major grocery chains for most of his life, interacting each day with a group of talented and artistic people.
More after the video.
So the Edgewater resident started to volunteer at Shady Side Elementary, where his grandaughter attends school. He started out as a guest reader for her class, and then started to help some of the other students. Before long, he was working with a number of students all across different grades.
He started to help one student, Marco Hurley, and realized that he’d found his second calling.
“If I hadn’t been in marketing, I’d have been a teacher,” he said. “I love these kids.”
Alansky said that Marco was drawing a cartoon one day and mentioned that it would be fun to start a club. Alansky sought out permission and the two invited others to join them. The club is small, just five people, and the conversations dynamic.
Alansky likes to keep it small because they meet just once a week at lunch. They don’t have a lot of time. The students work on single-panel comics that they post to a bulletin board in the media center.
He said that through his volunteering, he’s having a blast.
“I thought I had a couple of grandchildren, but now I really feel like I have 457 grandkids—that is how much I love coming here,” he said.
The club will go on until the end of school. With luck Alansky will find another half-dozen interested students to keep it going next year.
Somehow, that doesn’t seem like it will be a problem.