Sunday, July 27, 2008

3 Word Sunday- Going 2C Friends

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Today we are taking a mini-Road Trip up to Charlotte to see 3 families we used to go to church with in Virginia: The Clarkes, the Dunphys and the Cochrans. The Dunphys and Cochrans moved to NC before we moved here, and the Clarkes live in MD. Nikki and her girls lived across the street from us in our first home in VA. She is the reason I went to All Saints. All our kids were much younger when we met (many of them still in diapers), and there have been 3 new additions in the last few years.

We are looking forward to a great afternoon of food, fun and fellowship. I will post pics later this week!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Schools Out For Summer I know you are scratchng your head saying "Didn't school get out in June?"

Well some of us (well, ME) are INSANE and signed on to teach summer school. Yep. I have spend my days (Monday-Thursday) with a bunch of 3rd graders (soon to be 4th graders). Yes, I need my head examined, because now, I have exactly 18 days until I have to report back for the new school year.

My incentive was the pay of course---needing desperately to build up the "China Fund" since we are (finally) getting closer to getting our referral for Maddy (have you read my other blog??? Waiting for Maddy ) After Uncle Sam got his grubby hands on my summer school paycheck, it hardly seemed worth giving up relaxing days by the pool, eating bonbons and other things teachers do on their summer vacation.

So today, our summer school principal (not our usual principal-whom I adore) had the great idea to do a fun day for the final day--where the kids would rotate between a water/field day, a movie and a dance, spending about an hour at each event. Surprisingly it went off well, considering that 24 hours ago we had nothing organized (like filling 400 water balloons- "sure we'll get right on that!"). Oh, and there was the dance, which I was put in charge of organizing the music for (why, because I am so hip to what kind of music 5-11 year olds listen to)..I can tell you--these kids are cultural deprived...they didn't know YMCA, BrickHouse, or Funkytown, and if one more kid asked me to play the Cha Cha Slide (for the 40th time)...UUUGGGHHH!! Now, I cant get Hannah Montana's Rock Star or We're all in this together from High School Musical out of my head.

So whatever will I do with my 18 days..vacation??? nope, relaxing??? nope, sitting by the pool??? lots of organizing, reading (some for fun, more for school), sleeping late...and maybe eat a few bonbons!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

3 word Sunday

Our nephew Jacob recently became a Marine. He is a great kid and has always wanted to become a cop like his uncle Mike (my husband). The USMC offered him the opportunity to become an MP and he signed on, knowing that he would see combat at the completion of his training. He is completing training to fulfill this dream and will assigned a permanent duty station shortly. After that, he has already been told to prepare to deploy to Afghanistan. We are very proud of him, and are praying for his safety as he trains and prepares for deployment.
He has grown up alot and we are very proud of him!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

3 Word Sunday

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It has been almost a year since we left Virginia, leaving family and friends, and our church. It is hard to put into words how hard it was to leave our church was home, family and friends all rolled into one. Our church was a very family-friendly, warm, spirit-filled place.

This week, andother family from our old church is preparing to leave. They are going to Belgium for 3 years. All of the Moms from the Moms group submitted recipes and one of the Moms created a beautiful digital cookbook complete with photos as a keepsake for this family. It made me realize how much I miss our old church and the friends we made there. Fortunately for us, we can drive back for a visit...and plan to next month. Blessings and hugs to our friends at All Saints!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Looking for answers.....

I was not going to post about this, but after returning to school today, my heart is still aching, I am still angry and I need to let go of this before it turns my heart to stone.

Last Monday, an 8 year old student from the school I teach at was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a 14 year old neighbor!!! Dy'Mia Janae Woody was not my student. But I knew her. We were not close, but she knew who I was and I immediately recognized her when her picture flashed on the screen last week, announcing her death.

When I woke up last Tuesday morning the news was on, and I heard a reporter say the body of an 8 year old girl had been found in an abandoned mobile home off Old Grove Road. I knew immediately that she was "one of ours," as we often refer to children in our school community. My fears were confirmed less than an hour later when I received an email from my principal.

We had the week off from Summer school last week for the 4th of July holiday. Had I been at school, the news couldn't have been any harder to take. I watched the news constantly and checked my school email for any news. My husband (a retired cop) and I watched an interview of a 14 year old neighbor of Dy'Mia's who had been one of the last to see her Monday night. My husband's radar immediately went up and he said "that kid either did it, or knows who did." By Wednesday, a suspect (the same 14 y.o. boy we watched being interviewed) had been named, and arrested. More details of her death trickled out later in the week as well as information about the funeral plans.

I was scheduled to go out of town over the 4th of July holiday, so when I heard the funeral would be on Saturday when I was still out of town I was sad to know I would not be there to give my condolences to her family, and be there to support my colleagues who knew Dy'Mia, and represent our school to the community.

Word came over the weekend that a crisis intervention team would be there to assist students and staff when summer school resumed today. I wondered how the kids would react, especially those students who knew Dy'mia. As I walked int he building, I was handed a letter by our principal about how things should be handled today. It was reassuring to be there, to be with our students, to hug them, to listen to them, to be the port in the storm they needed in their little lives.

Through this all I keep asking myself what makes a 14 year old do this to an 8 year old child. To any child? What kind of kids are we raising? My school serves a high poverty area of Greenville. Over 90 percent of these kids receive free or reduced lunch, they come from single parent homes, and are predominantly African-Americans or Hispanic. Their world is colored with drugs, guns, violence, sex, you name it, they have seen it. There is so much anger, and apathy, mistrust and abuse.

I went into education to make a difference in the lives of kids like these. Now I find myself so ill-equipped to handle it. When a child asked me "why did he do it" today, I didn't have any answers. I needed an answer too. Next week I will be attending a conference called "Boys in Crisis" as part of my preparation to teach an all-boy classroom of 4th graders next year. I need to understand where they are coming from a little better. So maybe I can still make a difference.

Rafe Esquith, one of my heroes, said (pardon me for paraphrasing here) that we can't save these kids, but we can teach them to save themselves. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.