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Background image: Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge.

American Exceptionalism

The parents of Mrs. Oliver’s students at Evergreen Elementary School – and in some cases their grandparents – get us out of jams with ctrl-alt-delete.

Their names flash across your computer screen every time you open a piece of Adobe software, like Acrobat or Photoshop.

They put the big P in the middle of words and the pixels in the iPhone camera that took these pictures.

They took the bite out of the Apple.

In another decade or so they will be inventing whatever the Next Big Thing is.

Krithi, one of the fourth-graders in Mrs. Oliver’s class, could be teaching English by then, but she likes math and science better and thinks she’d like to be an architect.

“Big buildings,” she said.

Last month she was watching television and the announcer plugging NBC Bay Area’s investigative news team said, “Our world isn’t black and white. When you look closer, there’s always more than meets the eye.”

Krithi knew there’s also more than the ear hears.

“There is a difference in the words ‘closer’ and ‘closely,’” she said. “‘Closer’ is an adjective modifying a noun, as in ‘It was a closer race than expected.’ ‘Closely’ is an adverb telling how something is done, as in ‘When you look closely, there’s always more than meets the eye.’”

She asked Mrs. Oliver to email the station.

The station’s brand director agreed and invited the class to tour the studios. Which is how Donald Foster and I got chaperone duty yesterday for Mrs. Oliver, our friend and fellow choir member at church.

Usually we call her Lizanne like her mama in South Carolina did.

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