Hello! (Emily says, with an enthusiastic tone at 8:38am)
I am near transition here, well- we are all near transition. A senior student just popped into my office and after asking me if my throat was still dead (in reference to my loss of voice last week), he asked about my blog. I mentioned the transition title, and he says, "Oh, like we only have 1 1/2 days of school left?" Oh wow... yeah. That's true, but also surreal, really. These seniors will surely be missed, but I also know that most of them are ready to move onto college and/or various places.
A junior student (Todd) also popped in and would like to say, "School is getting out so soon, yea!"
So, here I am, left with many transitions to deal with- and to hear about from others. As we all know, change can be scary and for some, emotion (and drama) is running high at this point in the year. In addition to saying goodbye to students, I also will say goodbye to some dear volunteers, fellow faculty, and students who will not be returning come fall. I will make a few space transitions as well, moving my office upstairs and boxing my personal belongings into a storage room in the cottage (our cottage is used to house various groups during the summer). I begin with my camp work during the week of teacher inservice, so I'm currently working out the details of this... but needless to say it will be a quick transition, so I have to think about packing up my belongings soon, making time to spend saying goodbye to people rather than absorbed in my own moving.
Ah, before I get too carried away with the future, I want to mention the excitement of the past week.... Last Wednesday we had an awards banquet for the star students, and I was happy for everyone- many of the top students are also on student council for next year, hurray! :):) The following day during school we had another awards ceremony for "top student in each class" awards. For the sake of mentioning, Andrew Twiss and Jacob Franks won my guy class awards, and Ida Clarke and Charity Wilson won my girl class awards. Yep, pretty exciting!
Friday was a really fun day, the weather was beautiful and I had my first official "Red Cloud Repeat" experience. That's right. We celebrated the seniors with a graduation powwow, which happens to be the event I came for exactly one year ago on my first visit! Thus begins my ability to compare from one year to another! :) (oh yeah, blogging perspectives for next year)....
Other than working concessions at the powwow (which I was fine with, but not overly enthusiastic about), the evening was fantastic! Much dancing occurred, some 'specials' hosted by the families of various seniors, honorings for a few teachers (one whom will be leaving this year and was particularly close to many of the seniors) In addition, the seniors played a fun musical chairs game to a drum group song and the main event of the evening was the feather-tying ceremony. A significant person in each senior's life (mother, father, guardian, mentor, etc) ties an Eagle feather or plume into their hair, both of which are significantly sacred in the Lakota tradition. The ceremony symbolizes their connection to nature and the strength of the Creator, their Lakota tradition, and to one another as a graduating class. I took pictures, but have yet to upload them. The story of my life.
Saturday was another great day- I was able to spend the day with my volunteer friends (two of whom will not be returning come fall)... we had a girls' day out in Rapid, going to a movie, the mall, and eating Thai food. It was a fantastic time, really, and it makes me realize how greatly I will miss Jackie and Katie. I love hanging out with everyone, but I realize so few weekends now exist... since this coming weekend I am heading home, and then the following with be our last weekend together! Yikes! How quickly this year is halting to a stop.
Sunday I had another adventurous day, partaking in something I hadn't done since high school- horseback-riding!!! A friend from my Lakota class invited me to ride horses at her friend Dave's place, and we had a great time! My friend who works in the heritage center here, Miriam, came along (despite her initial hesitation- which shall be addressed later)... and for a few hours we rode along slowly, enjoying the beauty of the day and the rustic pasture landscape. I have a great story to share (at the expense of Miriam)... but don't worry, she agrees this story is too good not to share! :)
We had been riding along for about 1/2 hour, and my riding skills were surprisingly alright... while Miriam was still quite reluctant to increase speed, for fear of the fall and of the horse itself. We rode into this tree-dotted area of a valley, and Miriam began having flashbacks to when she was nearly clothes-lined while riding horse, so she didn't desire to have a repeat experience; hence, she stopped and began walking her horse until we reached higher, tree-less ground. We all successfully reconvened our ride together once on higher ground, and we made our way toward this water hole. Dave, the leader of the group, for some reason wanted the horses to walk through the water... even though we could have easily avoided the water. Anyway, the first two horses (one of them being my own) began walking through fine. Dave was on a horse that needed a bit more taming, so he waited... and as I was riding my horse through the water I looked back to see Miriam's horse pawing at the mud... and then with a simultaneous shout from Miriam, the horse decided to lay itself down in the water- with Miriam still on its back! As she tried jumping off (at the recommendation of Dave), the horse rolled over- covering her with mud! Gosh, even though I felt bad for her, I couldn't stop laughing at the whole situation.
We all concluded that the horse knew Miriam's fear and resentfully acted out despite its otherwise docile nature. To end the story- after Miriam got back on the horse, the horse began rearing up and acting out in all sorts of unpleasant ways...walking backward, etc. Thus, Miriam had her fill of negative horse experiences by this point and chose to walk her horse the 1 1/2 miles back to Dave's. The horse wouldn't even walk behind her though, so she led Dave's horse while he led hers. We all enjoyed the experience, only some a bit more than others. :)
The rest of my Sunday evening was fun time with community, getting back just in time for another cook-out. I love these cook-outs...by the way. :) We had a prospective volunteer named Ann present, which was fun! Made me remember back to my overwhelming visit to campus last year! What a difference a year makes!
On Monday I had a pretty normal day I would say... subbing for a few classes (which consequently makes the time fly by)... and trying to hold a student council celebration during lunch. I even offered pizza, cookies, chips, and lovely hand-make cards, but only about 5 people I think appreciated it! Whatever... I do my best and will no longer accept any criticism from students who want more activities, b/c if the student council won't even meet for pizza, why would they meet for productive purposes! :) I did also enjoy my evening, running in the cool post-rain air. Oh yes, and we hosted yet another sweat meal... this time for a group from Ohio I believe. I happened to be in a very hospitable mood that evening, which was perfect for the occasion.
Each day now this week, the seniors make remarks such as "my last Monday of high school ever!" "My last Tuesday in weight-lifting ever!" (gosh, that one better not be true!) :) What have I (or not) taught them? :)
Yesterday I had to cover for a sub who didn't show up 1 and 2 period. I don't exactly like surprise subbing... but I have probably mentioned that a time or two. Anyway, yesterday we also had senior rehearsal for graduation... I wasn't exactly involved, because of after-school program and all, but still the excitement brews among the seniors. Yesterday evening I was invited to the wrestling team's banquet, since I was a fab bus driver and all! :) I do enjoy the wrestlers, and the coach-Clay Leonard- made homemade pizza for everyone! He's quite the culinary artist! :) It was great to see the wrestlers honored as well, since basketball receives so much attention and wrestling, well... doesn't.
And here I am, watching my morning melt away once again... I have a lot to get organized around here, but I suppose it will all fall into place, right? :) Since receiving my voice back this week, I have realized how many people I have yet to catch up with... so I apologize to the parties to have been affected by my lack of calling (namely Nealy, Katie, Emily, Aubrey, and family at present)... :)
I must be going... Oh, but I want to relay a conversation which just occurred between a sophomore student and myself. This particular sophomore doesn't live with his parents, and he doesn't exactly have the typical 'family' to speak of... anyway, he was asking me why I would choose to volunteer, if I had a college education and could make lots of money. After briefly explaining that I don't care much about money, he asked about college loans, and I soon realized he had little clue about loans in general. So, it turned into a conversation about how loans work, and why it's not good to get into debt, etc. Coincidentally, it was such a good example of one reason I gave him for why I'm here- because I hope to make at least a small difference in the quality of experience for students at Red Cloud. I think he understood.
Well, farewell for another week. Next week I shall be writing during finals, and the following week with be my last week this year at Red Cloud. I have not determined if I will be writing during the summer or not. I know my internet access will be severely limited in comparison to this year. I have been blessed with the ability to communicate so frequently thus far.
The 3rd period bell just rang. With the multitude of interruptions, it only took me just over 2 hours to type this! :) That's how a day here goes! :)
Okay, much love and care....
PS- as I was proof-reading (okay, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't) :) a student came in to have me take out a piece of lead from her finger. We weren't successful, but it makes me realize how much I love the unexpected encounters of a random day in the office. Also, I've had a student in and out this morning who seems like she wants to talk, but was at first reluctant. As she was leaving just now she mentioned that she will not be returning next year- something I wasn't aware of.... and she says, "Well, maybe if you want, I could give you my email address or something..." (her way of saying- I don't want to be forgotten!) And of course I took her up on her offer. :)
7 months ago