These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

the end of something special

yesterday i made my last trip to visit mrs. irizarry's third-graders at the migrant program. i was invited to go so i could listen to them read their career papers. i, of course, obliged.

i arrived shortly before lunch, in time to be with them for the morning recess. i walked in and immediately several of the girls run over and give me hugs. a couple of the boys high five me. and on the way to the playground, rosaisela and denisse had to hold my hands as we walked over.

after playing in the heat fora bit and sitting with them during lunch (which was cool because they shared the hot cheetos with me), we headed back to the classroom where i was given a surprise.

steph told the kids to get in a circle and placed a chair up in front of thekids. that was my chair. i sat in front of them. she said i was their special guest who gave of his time to share with the kids and had impacted their lives.

i was flattered. i think those kids impacted my life. they're so full of life, wanting to learn, giving and loving. it was them who has made a difference in my life. i think they've opened up my heart during a time when it was closing and things bad. it was an unexpected side trip to my summer that has ended up being one of the best parts thus far. it's hard to explain, perhaps i can't, but i'm indebted to some of those kids. their presence helped me out.

the kids presented me with a neatly made packet that said "we love mr. garcia on the cover. inside were thank you letters from the kids, written in their words. tht was followed by a picture frame. inside were pictures from our various trips and the kids' signatures around the cut out pictures. both of these are now in my cubicle at work.

part of my sitting up front, though, was to tell them a story. it appears the kids loved the stories i had told them while on the field trips. steph brought in popsicles while i told the story of how the kids wanted to go see "the simpsons movie." with help from my pal juan, i got through it. i think all of the kids were satisfied.

afterwards, i got to listen to them read their career papers. i was impressed by them. some of the kids have serious goals. i have no doubt some will pursue them and succeed. denisse was the first to read and she was most impressive with her words. she is a good wrier. she wants to be a lawyer. rosalisela and lucero want to be teachers; they will make good ones. andy likes to draw (and does it well), and he wants to design cars.

so i left the school fulfilled and full of hope for their future. i hope to hear from some of them in the future, hope to see them succeed in life. still, after being with them these handful of occasions, though, i'm proud of them already.

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