25 May 2017

Charlie at ALE

The Alternative Learning Environment, you may remember from Samantha's experience a few years ago, is a classroom setting for kids who are not surviving in the traditional school.  By not surviving, I mean that you can be sent to ALE for fighting, for being bullied, for being pregnant, for bringing drugs or alcohol to school, or for any behavior which the school believes qualifies you for direct one on one supervision all day, every day.  The kids at ALE are sometimes pretty troubled.  They are all there for a reason.  Samantha had her reasons for being sent to ALE and it turned out to be a positive experience.  Charlotte was sent to ALE this year, and she was sent for a different reason altogether.  Her experience was equally positive.

At ALE the kids have classes as computer worksheets.  They read, they test, they move at their own pace.  They have a teacher over their shoulder constantly and the student to teacher ratio is really low.  Lots of talking, lots of nurturing.  Charlotte was sent to ALE at a time when that was just what the doctor ordered.  She was the darling of her teachers, charming them with her sweet compliments and blunt comebacks.  She is not afraid of anyone and she shines with one on one attention.

Next time you have the pleasure of talking to Charlotte you can ask her yourself why she was sent to ALE.  She may or may not tell you and I will leave that to her.  As a matter of fact, she purposely did not tell any of the students she went to school with why she was sent to ALE, just to see on social media what would happen.  Rumors flew, and she had the sad satisfaction of watching the people she once called friends belittle her and tear her down.  It was sad to watch, but, she did it that way so that she could see how people would react.  She was disappointed in almost everyone.  Kids are very cruel.  Those who held her up are still her friends, and while that was a painful lesson, she has grown and she has learned. 

You wish so much for your kids.  You want to shelter them.  Then, when they are hurt, you want to heal them.  The beauty of it is, that they have to grow.  I am proud of Charlotte and how she has handled her trial.  She is a strong young lady.  She won and she will continue to shine.

19 May 2017

Samantha's High School Graduation

Samantha is a high school graduate.  I never thought for a minute she would not graduate.  I know that she will have other days in her life that honor bigger accomplishments.  But today, she is thrilled to be a graduate and we are proud of her.  Samantha is not fond of change.  She likes to have a plan and she likes thrives on structure and routine.  Sometimes that routine is sleeping away a summer morning followed by a strict regimen of netfilx in the afternoon, but, she does have a plan.  The future is unplanned and whether or not she will say it out loud, she is intimidated by the future.  High school was safe and secure.  The future will be her adventure.  And she will rock it like she rocked high school.  No doubt.
The senior class - ready to do this.  The speeches by the valedictorian and two salutatorians were mainly about finding yourself in a troubled world; being the best person you can and helping those around you; also lots of don't forget these years and who got you here - remember your friends and your teachers.  Remember that your parents supported you.  And one sentiment that hit me was something the valedictorian said - he said remember how you feel right now.  This instant.  Are you proud?  A little scared?  A little sad?  A little apprehensive?  Really happy?  Mix all that together and use in your future.  Remember being happy and proud and a little scared - then go accomplish something that will make you feel like this all over again.  Go be someone.
I was too early to get the picture with Samantha and the superintendent of schools, Dr. Tony Thurman, but, there is Samantha walking toward him, in the blue cowl, to get her picture taken.  And the second picture is Samantha getting yet another picture taken with her fresh diploma.  I don't know where all these pictures are, I never got any of them, except from the arena seats!
Jonathan Pace, Samantha's boy/friend (sometimes that's true, sometimes it's not, but, they are always friends!) - also the happy graduate.  Then obligatory picture with Mom and Dad with our graduate.

The whole gang - in the front is Samantha, of course.  JMichael to the left with Juanita Brumbley, Grandmom, behind him.  Then we have me, Rachel, Charlotte and Josephine across the middle.  In the back on the left is Evan Haines, Rachel's boyfriend, and Dad, and then Jonathan, Samantha's boy/friend.
Congratulations, Samantha.  We love you and we are proud of you!

18 May 2017

Line 89

Line 89 is graduation tradition in Cabot.  The day that the senior class goes to Verizon Arena, in Little Rock, to practice for graduation is their last bus ride as students.  So to honor their accomplishment of graduation, the whole town lines the route that the buses take from the high school out of town - Route 89.  Hence the tradition - Line 89.  The elementary schools, the middle and junior high schools, all walk to the road to line 89 as the seniors take their last bus ride.  They make banners and wave and cheer.  It's a great tradition.  Since they load the class alphabetically, Samantha was on the first of the 13 buses it took to transport all 704 seniors to Little Rock.  They kids all waved with their classes at school, but, of course, all the parents, and happily in our case this year, grandparents, also go out and cheer for the graduates.
 We had a sign and balloons, too, and let Samantha know where on the route we were, so she could wave at us.

There she goes.  Off to graduation rehearsal.  Congratulations, Samantha!

05 May 2017

Real Panthers

 R.E.A.L. Panthers is a program sponsored by the police in Cabot. They have the teachers choose one student per quarter on their team (a team is a set of three to four classes of students, classes are about 25 kids each), who exemplifies the qualities of a R.E.A.L. panther - respect, explore, achieve and lead.  There's an assembly with accolades and the R.E.A.L. panther gets this cool shirt.  Josephine was happy to the R.E.A.L. panther for the third quarter of her sixth grade year and I snapped this photo of a R.E.A.L. panther on her way to school.  Go Panthers!  Go Josephine!