Monday, June 24, 2013


The initial plan was to maintain the isolation. If the little guy actually made it to school for the last day -- a three-hour sprint -- he and I would be upstairs in an exclusive room, just trying to get to the finish line.

It was a sad way to end it. He'd more or less be in solitary, with no interactions but with me.

So I was hopeful he'd be his customary late. Fortunately, he was. I got an hour in with the 19 other kids I'd spent five weeks with.

After Thursday's events, when I kept him away from the class for the second half of the day, I was told by the teacher that the kids had asked where I was.

That's the best tribute a person can have: to be missed when you're not around. Think about the people you most miss. Wouldn't it be great to get to spend a little more time with them?


Fortunately, there was one more pre-bell dance party in the gym. I'll miss that. Then it was on to class.

Although I never figure Pokemon to have longevity potential, these kindergarteners are keeping the thing alive. I've used the lure of these cards as an incentive and it has had some success. So I bought seven of the 10-card packs (at $4.19 a hit) to distribute to the guys (and some girls) who hadn't been getting them in the previous four+ weeks.

The teacher had distributed a few pages as a sort of "yearbook" for the kids to write down some memories. The grownups helped write the memories clearly for the keepsake, and there was an "autograph" page. The 2013 Yellow Ducks would soon be a moment in time.

Soon after class began, there was an assembly in the gym. It was mostly Part I of a sendoff for the fourth-graders who would be moving on the middle school. Having been around them a bit, it was nice to see their excitement at no longer being "little kids." I wished a few of them who I'd met good luck.


When the kids do something particularly well or special, they get a "bucketgram" of recognition. They take the bucketgram to the office, and are given a piece of green construction paper shaped like a small leaf, where they write their name and post it to a large drawing of a tree.

A couple of days ago, the classes were to estimate the number of leaves on the tree. The winner would get a shout-out at the assembly.

Everyone in the class could submit a guess, and then there would be a vote for the class submission. Ours ranged from 100 to 1 million.

My guy guessed 1,008. The class decided to submit that.

It was the winning guess. Too bad he missed the assembly.


But when he did get there, I shared that news with him as we headed upstairs. Every bit of positivity helps.

After about 20 minutes, we got some good news. We were going to reintegrate him into the day. The first chance would be going to music -- the class where it took me 20 minutes to talk him into going on our first Friday together.

He went and there were no issues. Then it was back to class where another special activity was coming... the classes would stand in the halls and cheer on the fourth-graders as they processioned by.

The teacher handed out "diplomas" and little buckets with pails, a yellow duck and a DVD of the year that had played during Tuesday's Open House.

Then there was recess, back to class for a few minutes, and it would be done.

As they marched in from the recess, they started to chant: "We are first graders! We are first graders!"

And then it was over.


I don't know what will become of this guy. And it's impossible to know how the future shakes out, or whether I will even ever set foot in that school again. Will he be OK? Will he go to another school? And what of the other kids, so many of whom show so much promise?

Life moves on. I learned a lot those five weeks. I don't know how the regular teachers deal with the passage. It took me a couple of days just to process, and I don't know that I have fully understood what just happened. But I hope our paths cross again some day.

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