2009 S.E. Scholarships - Awards Ceremony
Today's miscellaneous pictures have nothing to do with the text, but they make me smile to see Christi so I put them here; I miss her! (This picture, December 2005, was taken by Christi's awesome Girl Scout leader at the end of one of their meetings. It shows the card Christi made to send good wishes to a solider fighting for us over seas. I actually love seeing her hair like that because that's how she looked when she came up to my room after school, like she had a busy day in 4th grade. In a matter of weeks, all that messy hair was gone. Ugh!)
As always, we dreaded the day. It's not that we don't love helping others and sharing our deceased daughter's life, we do. It's just sickening because we know why we are there - because she died, not because she lived. If she would have lived, we'd be paying for her tuition instead. It just seems wrong. I don't know. On a happier note, I can say that we have awarded nearly $20,000 to students over the past 2 1/2 years since Christi's death.
(Pic: Putting our carrots for the reindeer on Xmas Eve, Dec. 2002. At that time WE knew we were leaving Shayla and heading to NYC in about three days, but the girls did not know that yet. Tough memories.)
One of the sweet Seniors who won one of Christi's scholarships stopped by my classroom during my conference period on Christi's birthday, May 12th, the due date for these applications. I was caught off guard, while thinking about it all and wondering if we are really doing the right thing or not. It is a lot of work and we can't give scholarships to everyone. I must have seem very perplexed and very sad, because the next day a letter was dropped off for me. These kids are great! It really picked me up.
(PIC: Kicked Back on the Disney Cruise, Dec. 2005) "Today I came to visit and I noticed you seemed a bit different. Given what today is, I can understand, but there is something I want you to know......" This sweet student went on to write really kind things, but what made me laugh out loud were the remembrances back to 8th grade reading class, things I had forgotten about....."I will never forget that lady who would hold our book discussions during 3rd period with chocolate milk that was only luke-warm because the microwave she kept under the desk didn't work properly, yet she told us to picture ourselves drinking coffee in a bookstore to try to really get us into the discussions. The lady that was always smiling or laughing, or the lady that was always there with her camera, ready to take our picture of anything special we might do in her unique class." I am going to miss these kids and my colleagues so very, very much! They're an awesome group. Just before the day ended Friday, a graduating Senior came down to say goodbye on his final day of school. I wished him well and hope he keeps in touch. I have the most rewarding and wonderful job.
We explained to Shayla that we would be giving the Seneca East Christi Thomas scholarships out soon and we said she could make the decision whether she attended or went to school that morning instead. Without missing a beat she said, "I want to go." Friday evening I asked her if it was pretty sad and hard for her to stand up there and help award the money, or if she liked it and she said, "It is sad because I am reminded about how much I miss Christi. I also like being a part of the help too." I think we'll have to make her an official ex-officio member next year or something. Thursday night she said she would read off the certificates, but when I put the microphone in front of her she shook her head no (and the audience laughed). Friday night she told me, "I panicked and thought what if I can't pronounce a name right?" She did announce Katie's $1,000 award, but she practiced that Thursday night.
As I took my 7th graders back to class, Shayne asked Shayla if she wanted to go visit the 4th graders. (Oh, I didn't know if that was a good idea or not. Friday night she told me she was hoping she'd get to see them. She said, "While waiting for our turn, I kept praying that when we were done they'd be out in the hall walking somewhere so I could see them.) Shayne took her to her old class where she was attacked by all of the students, so happy to see her. I understand she started crying when she hugged her former teacher. They've been emailing. Shayla recently emailed:
We drove by your old house recently. It made me sad. Remember when you used to babysit me there? Remember when we blew up a pickle for the science experiment? You are the best science teacher. I miss you!