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Ryemarkable Katy Ridley!

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

Tell us about your family and your work:

I grew up in Rye and John and I are proud to raise our family here. I teach 2nd grade at Milton School, which is where I went to school as a child. Even more special, our two daughters are now Milton students!

How has the virus impacted your work?

I'm a teacher, so this virus has changed our world completely. I teach 2nd grade at Milton School where we are teaching in the hybrid model. When I first walked into my classroom in September, I had to sit down and cry it out for a few minutes. My tables, cozy nooks and curved bookshelves were all gone, replaced by desks in rows surrounded by plexiglass dividers on 3 sides. It felt sterile and scary and not at all like the way I teach my students. However, over time I have surprised myself by discovering many benefits of the hybrid model. Even when I was quarantined due to an exposure in my classroom, I discovered benefits to this "new normal". While I'd never again like to teach via a Google Meet, I appreciate that this platform has become another tool to help us connect students and teachers and to extend our learning. Did you receive the vaccine? When? Any thoughts about it?

I received my first round of the Pfizer vaccine at the Westchester County Center on January 19th. The whole experience felt so emotional. I honestly danced my way through the line, smiling through my mask and resisting the urge to physically hug every volunteer in there. I just couldn't stop saying "Thank you for all you do!". I felt overwhelmed with hope and pride for our community. As the woman was about to put the shot in my arm, I turned and saw a woman zipping up her elderly mother's coat. She said "Well, congratulations, Mom. You did it! You got your first Covid vaccine!" and I burst into tears. I cried the whole way home, belting out Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (Whoaaa, we're halfway there...)

My experience at the County Center was seamless, but I am even more thankful for everyone at Rye Beach Pharmacy. My parents were both fortunate enough to get their vaccine there, and for that I am forever grateful. What are you learning in this journey?

I'm learning the importance of having hope, faith and trust in science. Truly, it is the combination of these three things that has allowed me to stay positive and not completely meltdown each day.

I've also learned that if you allow yourself to slow down and reflect, you can find positive outcomes in even the hardest situations, like this pandemic. I can't wait for this to be over so I can hug everyone in sight (watch out, world!), but in the meantime I have found a deep appreciation for time with my family, for this slower pace, and for our community. It is truly a blessing to see this community come together to support our stores and restaurants, to gather baked goods for hospital workers or donations for people in need, and to offer safe opportunities to gather as a community and fill our emotional buckets during these times of isolation.

How has the Rye community supported your journey?

I am thankful for the families who have shown an enormous amount of support and gratitude for our Rye City schools as we work hard to continue to provide a strong education to our students throughout this pandemic. It has not been an easy journey, and I'll be honest that we have had to develop both grit and resilience, but I am so proud of my colleagues and of our school district. I am also incredibly proud of our students who have been so flexible as we continue to change and adjust our school experience, and who demonstrate incredible perseverance.

Outside of work, I am thankful for the many community events that have kept us all sane for the past year, including the Purchase Street Plaza, the Chamber of Commerce's scavenger hunts, RCSD graduation parades, the Front Door Project and Rye Rec Paint Nights. What are your favorite things about Rye?

My favorite thing about Rye is our location along the Long Island Sound. My family and I love to be either on the beach or out on the water together. I also feel so lucky to have an incredible downtown filled with great stores and restaurants. We have everything we need right here in Rye!

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