Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Honor Roll!

I had a chance last week to go to an awards ceremony for some of my former students. I was invited by one girl in particular - the one who I periodically help raise money for various leadership trips - and I was thrilled to be able to go. This girl is my success story, although I can take very little credit for her success. I've talked before about her dad, who is a professional boxer. Since I first met her when she was in first grade, this girl has excelled in school, worked hard, and kept a great attitude. It is no surprise that she still has a 4.0, but it's still exciting!

The surprising part was some of the other kids who made the honor roll. It is a 6th-9th grade school - eventually going to be a 6th through 12th grade, but they're growing it one grade at a time. I saw several old students - at least one in each grade - who had a 4.0. One of them was a HUGE surprise - she was severely traumatized by her dad's death* in first grade and had a lot of learning problems that I think were related to emotional problems. She is now as tall as me, beautiful, has her lip pierced, looks 18 or 20, and has a 4.0. Yay!!!

*The full story of her dad's death is pretty disturbing so don't read it if you don't want to know.

This girl, "Lashay," was six years old when somebody rang the doorbell at her house. Turns out, it was someone who was involved in some bad drug deal with her father. He asked for her father and Lashay went and got him. When he came to the door, the other guy shot her dad in the face, in front of her. When I had her in class almost three years later (she repeated second grade), she would still go into hysterics if anyone mentioned the word "father." She thought it was her fault since she answered the door and went to get him.