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Retired teacher greets students back-to-school playing ukulele

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NEWINGTON --  The first day of school at Martin Kellogg Middle School in Newington is anything but ordinary.

"I brought it the first and the last day of school," said Chuck Robison, a former teacher who plays the ukulele every year on the first and last day of school. "I uke 'em in, and I uke 'em out!"

Robison retired from teaching at Martin Kellogg Middle School in 2001, but he has not missed a first or last day of school since his retirement.

"It's just a tradition, I have just been part of this building for such a long time that I didn't want to stop," said Robinson.

So like clockwork, Robison is there strumming away on his ukulele as kids file into the building.

"It is just a part of my life," said Robison. "I just keep doing this, and as long as I am able to travel and bring my ukulele with me, I will keep doing it!"

Jason Lambert, Principal of Martin Kellogg Middle School said Robison's infectious personality has carried through the years, and impacted so many lives in the past several decades.

"There are many things that change in education, however, connecting with kids and helping kids to see the best of themselves, and to grow and develop, that doesn't change in education," said Lambert. "Chuck comes here every year to help that spirit comes alive."

And so for the foreseeable future, Robison said he will continue to play his music on the first and last day of school.

"Well I am 79, so maybe 20 more years," laughed Robison. "I may only be able to play a three strings at that point, I may not have a the finger strength to play a four string then!"

Even though he is not teaching anymore, the staff agrees he is still changing lives.

"I hope Chuck keeps coming back because the kids love him, the staff loves him, the community loves him, and he is a special part of what makes Martin Kellogg a great place to learn," said Lambert.

"The reality of it is that I have had a great life, and working with kids, and working in education has been such fun," said Robison. "That is why I really don't want to give this up."

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