Today was last day of school for both kids. Maki would have been happy if it ended weeks ago, where as Justine would be happy to go every day of the summer too.
I found myself getting sentimental when I dropped Maki off at the middle school for the last time. This is the school he jumped into just a couple days after arriving from England three years ago. It was the beginning of 6th grade and he braved it like a champ. I found this old picture of him sitting in that office on his first day of school.
Gosh, what three years can do.
I don’t know if Middle School (grades 6-8) is easy for any kid. Maki had to stretch himself a lot over the past few years. But he made it! And next year….yikes! HIGH SCHOOL!
As he got in the car today, he said: “I’ll be back to visit my old teachers.” It made me smile to realize he actually had become attached to some of them after all. But the most special one of all is Mrs. Rosien, his art teacher each of the past three years. Not only was she a consistent presence in his life, but she built him up from the beginning, affirming how he “thinks outside the box” or is “one of my most talented students.”
Now, she may say that to other parents too. But it’s always great to have a teacher believe in your child and see them as a special individual. There was a sticky patch this year where Maki was struggling with his grades and I was too overwhelmed to check his homework assignments regularly. Vernon was in and out of the hospital with his infections and I wasn’t being very diligent. The homework thing was causing some distress between us at home (which I take most of the blame for.) I went to the school for support and ideas.
“I just can’t check School Loop every night! It’s too much right now!” I blubbered, embarrassing myself completely.
While the others in the room stared at me, surprised at my outburst and most likely, embarrassed as well, Mrs.Rosien jumped right in: “I’ll do it for you. After every class that I have Maki, I’ll check his School Loop and go over his list of assignments with him.”
It was a small favor, but I believe that is when Maki’s grades turned around. He’s brought up his grade in every class since then, and he has worked hard for it. His climbing friends, Scott and Sarah, have also come along side him to help him study for upcoming tests.
She is one of the special teachers that we will both always remember.
In my opinion, doing well in school is important, but not as much as doing well spiritually and emotionally. And Maki has impressed me to no end in how he has grown up this year. It was very hard to have his dad suddenly taken from him in the way he was, there was a lot of newness to get used to as well as a lot to let go of. But with the support of some mentor-friends, I’ve seen him embrace his life and interests in a new way. Where he once was cautious, he’s become almost spontaneous at times. As the “man of the house,” he’s been so helpful with his sister and me. I love seeing how confident he has become. It’s a remarkable thing, and I’m so blessed and proud.
It was a special day for Justine as well as today was the last day of Pre-K. There was a little promotion ceremony for the kids and little awards were given. I was pleased as punch to find that Justine was given an award for Artwork and Writing (I believe that is her letter-making, as she can’t actually spell yet.)
Here she is with her teacher, Miss Brenda, a very patient and kind lady, who taught her so much this year.
This sweet school was a wonderful gift to us this year. I hadn’t even planned to take Justine to preschool full time. I wasn’t that organized, and I figured the more time I had her with me at home before Kindergarten, the better. But after the accident, when I found myself driving some distance every day and looking for willing babysitters every morning, I decided to look into a church school that was on the way of my daily route.
I had no idea what we could afford, but I told Miss Kim, the principal, my plight, and she generously gave Justine a scholarship so she could attend every morning. This has been Justine’s joy. She loves learning and being around the other children, and I have been so relieved, knowing she is in a sweet and loving environment every day. I know she is ready to move on to Kindergarten now, but it was such a great experience that part of me wishes I could keep her there another year. (Actually, I will be sending her there for summer camp in a couple weeks, so we don’t have to let go entirely yet!)
Here she is with Miss Kim, who has become a good friend to me as well. I’ve spent many mornings crying or just talking things out in her office, after dropping Justine off. Don’t you love people who offer ‘safe spaces?
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” —Carl Jung