Lillia, first and last day of 9th grade, 2018-2019
Lillia: This has been a very interesting and challenging year for you. It all started way back in August when you began your freshman year and our local high school. Eighth grade had been rough, and I think we were all hoping for a fresh start. Sadly, a cascade of negative experiences—from bullying in the hallways to homework troubles—dashed our dreams almost immediately. A job change for your dad made it so that you were completely on your own from the time you left for the bus at 6:30 in the morning until Zane and I got home sometime between 4:00 and 5:00. Most afternoons you were asleep when we arrived, so you were essentially completely unsupported. Not good.
Thankfully, this story has a very happy ending! At the end of October we went for a tour of the MC2 school in Keene (actually in the same building I work in!). You were doubtful and reluctant, but I just had a feeling it would be a good match for you. When I picked you up at the end of your tour day, you asked if you could start the next day! They graciously let you start in the middle of a term, and it has been a 100 percent positive experience from the moment you started. You made tons of new friends who like a lot of the same things that you do. You often hang out after school with friends, visiting the comic book store, eating out, playing card games at school . . . it fills me with joy to see YOU happy.
Because MC2 goes year-round (10 weeks on, 3 weeks off), there isn’t really a “last” day of school until you graduate. But, this is the end of the quarter, and Zane’s last day of school for the year, so let’s celebrate a great year that brought so many good changes your way. I am so proud of everything you accomplished this year, and it’s especially awesome to see how resilient you are—you took the setbacks life gave you and transformed them into something wonderful. I can’t wait to see you what interesting projects you’ll take on next quarter! Love you, kiddo!
Zane, first and last day of 2nd grade, 2018-2019
(the last day of school was field day, hence the face paint and flower lei)
Zane: You experienced big changes this year, too! After spending your kindergarten and first grade years at our local elementary school, you expressed a desire to try something different. I wasn’t quite sure what that could be, but we’ve tried a lot of different schools (even homeschooling) so I was not afraid to take a chance on a new educational path. We decided to check out St. Joe’s, the Catholic school that both your dad and your grandmother attended when they were young.
We took a tour of the school near the end of last school year. I remember being so impressed with the energy of the place—everyone seemed so happy to be there, and totally engaged with their work. You were particularly excited about studying French, and after you started at St. Joe’s this past fall, French turned out to be one of your favorite classes! You also really liked your religion class, and going to Mass on Fridays, too—during one Mass you really impressed Fr. Alan with your knowledge of metamorphosis, and I don’t think he’ll forget you anytime soon.
You made lots of new friends this year. Everyone at St. Joe’s is so nice. I started reading to your class on Tuesday mornings, which gave me a chance to see you during the day—having you and your sister so close to where I work has been the most wonderful change. Your class is really special: It has THREE sets of boy-girl twins! That’s amazing! Because your class was so large, they split you into two groups for much of the day. At the beginning of the year you were called the Marshmallows and the Tiger Sharks, then you switched to Dolphins and Patriots (you were a Marshmallow/Dolphin).
You are one of the youngest kids in your class, so it took you at least part of the year to catch up to them, in terms of study habits. Your teacher frequently remarked that you were very bright, but had trouble finishing your work. By the end of the year you were consistently making good use of your class time (perhaps having to bring school work home on the weekends several times was a motivating factor). I’m so proud of all of your hard work this year, and I can’t wait to see what exciting things you will learn this fall in third grade! Love you, buddy!