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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

a touching last day

migrant summer school is over. wednesday was the last day and i was proud and happy to be part of the kids' last day in school.

actually, the week has been filled with migrant kids. it started monday when i went to stephanie's classroom where the kids had a project going on. they wrote reports on latin american countries and had to present them to a person from that country. the kids did great as usual. arlette even put on evie's pollera and they danced.

i left shortly after lunch and promised the kids i'd be back wednesday. and so i returned.

it was a fun time, though sad because i might not see them again or maybe not see some of them again. and they had a tremendous impact on me.

i handed out copies of the paper to each child. then they wanted a story, so i performed an impromptu story that i told orally and that included each student. it was tough and i had to wind my way through rough ground. but it was done. one of the kids went with dawn out of the room and he told her it was a funny story. that made me feel pretty damn good.

arlette said "you made me famous" several times. her name appeared in several stories. some of them asked me to sign their papers or the report i'd created for them.

at the end of my time there, they got to read aloud the stories they composed out of the exercise dawn and i created for them. i was amazed at what they'd done with the stories since i first helped them with them some weeks ago. all they had was two characters and a very thin plot. the stories blew me away. i was impressed by marlynn, deila, erika and juan's stories. although all were impressive. if i get a chance i might reprint them here.

and so i made my departure before their lunch timie, giving them high fives and knuckles.

the kids are truly caring children. very unselfish. one girl who started the program very recently gave dawn a small jar of honey and a homemade piece of jewelry created by one of the other assistants. this girl is very economically disadvantaged and yet she did this really great thing. whether it came from her or her parents or both is just wonderful.

another girl later exchanged addresses with dawn. she hung around before she left, wanting to say something to dawn. finally she said, "you're like a second mother to me." wow. very touching. it really got to dawn. and frankly it gets to me, too.

these kids are nothing but love and good. as i said before i'm glad to have played my small part in their education this summer. it's nice to be appreciated and told heart-felt words from the heart for a change. it maks it all worth while.

have a good school year kiddos.