Principal all-school meeting Friday to a chorus of munchkin (a.k.a student) giggles as faculty and students honored him with an elaborate skit based on "The Wizard of Oz."
"A lot of people and a lot of students have been asking me how it felt leaving here," said a visibly moved Tracey, explaining the meaning of the Oz theme, "and I said that I felt like Dorothy leaving Oz...and all the munchkins. Because Dorothy knew she had to go, but she left a big part of her heart in Oz, and I'll leave a big part of my heart with all of you."
"Chris has said many times that his stay at has been his favorite and one day he said that he feels like he is in 'The Wizard of Oz,' like there's no place like finding home. BINGO," said incoming principal , "I thought to myself, I can come up with a great idea, but it takes a creative group of teachers to make it a reality. It will be a bittersweet and sentimental send-off for Chris as he follows the Yellow Brick Road off to a new beginning...not an end."
Kraus, as Glenda the Good Witch, along with fourth grade teacher Lisa McKee, as the Wicked Witch of the West, led a cast of faculty members and students who bid Tracey farewell.
The Scarecrow, teacher Keri Borowsky, gave Tracey a book of knowledge, explaining that "We are sending him away with a book to keep his brain growing on his journey."
After demonstrating how to put one's hands on one's hips and roar, the Lion, Robin Streck, awarded Tracey the "badge of courage."
"Sometimes it's very hard to leave something that you are very, very good at and try new things," Streck said.
"We know that you already have a big heart because you have given it to us so graciously," said Tin Man, Toni Rose Fioreillo, before offering Tracey a box full of hearts. Each student and staff member had written a note on a heart, totaling 623 hearts for Tracey to treasure.
Lastly, Dorothy, Joanne Goerler, presented Tracey with a pair of Ruby Red Slippers so he would be able to click them together and know that JMMES is home.
"There's absolutely no place like John Marshall," Tracey repeated three times as he clicked his heels together to a chorus of applause.
Both Kraus and McKee emphasized that the event was an all school effort.
Mike Magee was the mayor and Jeff Tupper, John Ryan, Jamie Tulp, Joe Sanicola, and David Calleto were very popular Lollipop Boys.
Dancehampton students, Sorrel Miller, Sidney Soloviev, Madeleine Brown, and Georgia and Emma Hren peformed ballet, art teacher Dawn Diamond worked with students to make scenery and munchkin hats for all the students to wear, and the 5th grade chorus, led by Melanie Mesiano, sang a parody of "Over the Rainbow," written by Kraus.
Finally, music teacher Greg Butler led the children in a revised version of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" as Tracey skipped down the Yellow Brick Road to retirement:
Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow, follow, follow, follow follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow the rainbow over the stream, Mr. Tracey follows a dream.
Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the Yellow Brick Road.
We're off to retire, retirement is right now.
We hear it is a lazy time, as lazy does allow.
If ever oh ever the time is now, retirement will show you how,
Because, because, because, because, because of the wonderful things he does.
We're off to retire, retirement is right now! Now!