Jun 11, 2010

Year One Done

CAA's class of 2010. This is probably my favorite photo of these kids. It was actually taken the week before graduation, when we were taking photos for the graduation bulletin. There is just such warmth between them in this photo.

On a warm day in early June--blue summer sky, sunshine, the trees bursting with brilliant green, a light breeze, birds chirping--I tossed my backpack into the backseat of my late model Toyota, got behind the wheel, and drove with away without a pang of sadness or a care in the world. It was a week ago today. . .or it was yesterday. Either way, the weather and the mood were the same. Last Friday school let out for the summer, my teaching for the school year finished, and yesterday I completed my postweek duties and left the school with no reason to return until August.

The end of the school year here in America is a little different then it was in Saipan. Instead of bidding a fond farewell to almost everyone on the staff, it's "I'll see you in August" or "We should get together sometime this summer." With the exception of our 1st/2nd grade teacher who came out of retirement to teach for a year and is now going back in, everyone will be back. Instead of a big summer trip to the States to prepare for, there is just a nice long lesiurely summer stretching ahead, with one little trip to Florida in mid-July. Instead of kids packing the house on Friday night for one last TGIS before the summer begins, we teachers all stand outside and wave goodbye as the buses pull away; the kids are too far-flung across the city of Columbus for such gatherings and besides hanging out with the teachers in your spare time isnt' quite as cool here as it is in Saipan.

Oh, there were some tears shed. A couple of our sixth graders won't be back next year and the last day was a wrenching one for them. That's one thing that hasn't changed much--just like in Saipan, the kids might talk a lot of smack about their little school and boast about where they're going to go next year, but when it comes right down to it, they love this place. For these departing students the end of the school year was a bittersweet moment.

But for me, it was barely bitter, and largely sweet. It's been a good year. I've gained a lot, learned a lot, grown a lot. I'm beginning to put down some roots, beginning to feel at home. I know a few people now. I've starting to figure out how to get things done. It's a good feeling. I'm excited about next school year and all the big plans in the works, now that I know my way around a little bit. But August will come soon enough--I'm not gonna rush it. Right now I'm ready for vacation, ready to be a stay-at-home daddy for the summer, ready to read, rest, and recuperate. Year one is done and so am I!

A few photos of year end events at CAA.

Shadow's First and Final Tour of this Season

This first season with Shadow has been all about getting off the ground, so it wasn't until the final month of the school year that we finally mounted our first tour. It was a humble three-show gig, but those three performances got the team--and me--so excited about Shadow. The tour is the payoff: the applause of the crowd, the adrenaline boost of stepping out on the stage--not just for one little skit in the midst of a larger program, but for a full show where we are the main event. We all loved it, and I think it got us all excited for next season.

Shadow team members perform "Officer Bob", an anti-drug skit, at our second show of the tour, Friday, May 21, at Eastwood Junior Academy (the school where my best friend, J Carlos works).

Shadow Co-Director Wayna Gray brings it home to the audience between skits at the Eastwood show.

The Shadow team at Ephsesus Seventh-day Adventist Church just before our final performance of the season on Sabbath afternoon, May 22, 2010. (Our first show was at our own school on Thursday, May 20. The hometown crowd was so enthusiastic and supportive. It really pumped us up for our road shows. A couple of the students actually came along with the team on Friday just to see the show again and show their support for the team.)

Shadow just before we took the stage at Ephesus on May 22.

"LoudNClear" calls for quiet. This young man is one of our most energetic and entertaining actors. Let's just say I've never had a problem with him projecting on stage. He always comes through loud and clear. (I have however had some problems with that same talent during class, though!)

"LoudNClear" and one of our fifth (now sixth grade) actors, "Jazzy" perform "Vengeance is Mine" (an old favorite from my REAL Christian Theater days).

8th Grade Graduation

My first graduation at CAA felt relatively simple. But then I had a lot of help. This year, the 8th grade and kindergarten graduations were held jointly, so I had help from Lisa Lavalas, the kindergarten teacher. Brenda Arthurs, the principal also pitched in with deocrations and coordination. A lovely group of church ladies callled the King's Daughters took care of the refreshments. The sanctuary at Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church required little in the way of decorating--it looks grand enough by itself. Our secretary, Bunnie, took care of the bulletin. Much of the program was already set--all we had to do was plug into the ongoing traditions.

Pomp & Circumstance

This is their moment.

The Class of 2014. The end of one journey, and the beginning of another. High school here they come!

The Last Day of School

The room reverting back to the state I found it in when I arrived last August-Chairs and desks, stacked, books put away, posters and bulletin boards taken down.

Some of the 5-8 kids playing video games in my classroom on the last day of school.

This poor guy thought it'd be a good idea to get in a fight on the last day of school. It broke up before any one got hurt, but he and his nemesis forfeited the rest of the days festivities. He spent the final hours of the school year sitting and doing nothing.

Until next year. From left to right, "Quiet Man" who will be in my 8th grade class, "LoudnClear" who will be in 6th grade, and "SoulBrother" who will be in my 7th grade class.

1 comment:

Mai said...

Agreed, it was a good year. It took me a while to get adjusted, but I can now say that it was a good year..... although I still have 3 more days! Enjoy your summer!!