Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A final letter from the editor...

So, I have been dreading this day. The day when I write the final blog post in this space where I have felt so happy and comfortable and supported for over three years. I started this blog because I was just so proud and excited about the awesome work we did inside our little school house everyday and I wanted to share that with our extended school community. Never did I imagine the fun and joy I would get from sharing our school happenings with you all! This blog has allowed our school community to grow outside of just the small amount of people who live here on Monhegan year-round. We now know we have supporters all over the COUNTRY who have tuned in to see what we are up to during the school year. We have been so lucky to find you all.

Now after three years and 440 posts, I sit here trying to figure out how to say goodbye. School has been out for almost a month now. It has been cleaned and packed up for the summer. I have even moved out of the teacher's house and am living at a different at a different house, still on Monhegan. So I have been officially done as the Monhegan School teacher for a while now, but yet I still have not said goodbye to this space... to this last connection to the crazy adventure and love affair I have had with this truly spectacular school for the last five years....

So let's do the numbers....

Five years, twelve amazing students, three very different superintendents, four ed. techs,  five original Christmas plays, 440 blog posts, 33 BINGOS, 19 awesome field trips, five fabulous kickballs, two very special school dogs, a handful of lifelong friends, countless tears, undefinable emotions, unforgettable memories... all add up to one very grateful and changed teacher.

So I guess all I can say is thank-you for coming along on this crazy ride with us, with me. Thank you for your joy, your love, and your support for our little school. I will miss getting your comments in my inbox in the morning and taking a gazillion pictures of the cutest school kids in the world to post here in this space. I will miss the pride and happiness I have felt when I post about all the fabulous things our school does here in this community. I will miss it all. But I will take it all with me, in my heart, always.  So thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. You will never truly know how much your kindness and support has meant to this teacher. So long and take care. 

- Jessie 

CELEBRATE good times! C'mon!

After the cry-fest of graduation was over and complete it was time to CEEEEEELEBRATE GOOD TIMES.... C'mon!

The graduate popped the bubbley to share with his friends!

Bubbley = sparkling cider... he is still only 14, ya know!?

Cheers to our graduates!

We brought our bubbley juice along with us as we headed out for a celebratory pizza lunch!

The celebrating is a whole lot easier than the actually graduating!

It was a great lunch! Once our bellies were full we headed up to the ball field for some intense games of ultimate frisbee! That was the game of choice that Dalton wanted to play as a fun way to spend the afternoon! It was a great battle and we had TONS of participants! 

After a quick swim and rest the celebrating continued with a HUGE celebratory cookout at the school that evening which the entire community was invited to!

And you know the BEST part of celebratory cookouts on Monhegan!? We have the best cookout chefs in the world which means DELICIOUS FOOD!

It was a full out party!

Now it was time to bust out the REAL bubbley!

We deserved it!

Cheers! WE DID IT!

Lots of fun toasts!

Our poor graduate was exhausted after the day's events!

But that didn't stop me from snapping some pictures (notice his sweatshirt!)

Exhausted but I think really happy!

Then it was time from another kind of bubbley!

Between the sky, tie-dye, and bubbles... I am digging this picture!

Bubbles everywhere!

I loved that we got to have Meg and Joe here for the continued celebration! Such a fun day.

OH! And I almost forgot! I got ANOTHER amazing surprise after graduation was over. Angela made me this AMAZING quilt out of her kickball t-shirts from the last five years and our recent TLC t-shirt that the kids helped to design. I was literally speechless and just cried like a baby when I opened it. It is magnificent.

I have always wanted to make a quilt like this, but the fact that Angela thought to do it for me just touches my heart like nothing else. 

It is the warmest, softest snuggley-est quilt ever! It will be something I will treasure my entire life. Thank you Angela. It is the best gift I could have EVER received after my time here.

I think we were all starting to get pretty beat as the sun started to set. 

Look at all these sleepy, cute kids.

And these sleepy, cute teachers! What a day.

An amazing sunset after an amazing day after an amazing five years.
 Life could not have been more perfect on June 15th, 2012. Thank you to all who were apart of our special day. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012


After a lot of waiting and anticipation the time had finally arrived for our BIG graduation ceremony... 

I had been planning this day in my head for months... and it was such a bittersweet feeling when the time had come to honor Mr. Dalton Lee at his 8th grade graduation!

We had decorated the school inside an out with Dalton signs, posters, and pictures.

"We Love Dalton" was displayed outside with photos of Dalton from his younger years!

Inside we had decorated his chair for the ceremony.

And we all were just eagerly awaiting for friends, family, and community members to join us.

I think Meg and Joe were giving Dalton some advice of how to get through your graduation ceremony without crying too much. (Too bad it didn't help one bit for any of us!)

Time for some photos with the graduate! Look at his fancy shirt!

Anne and Dalton! Can you believe how tall he is!?

The TLC Class of 2012. I love them so much.

Speaking of love... me and my boys. 
They are the best thing that ever happened to me here on this little island.

The best school in the whole wide world! Can it GET any better!?


Group hug!


With Gram!

All the important women in the boys life :)

Happy Millie.

Graduation is such a big deal on Monhegan that I hired a "bouncer" for the occasion to make sure only friends and family of our school joined us since we have limited seating inside our little school. I knew just the person for the job... my life coach and Monhegan School Supporter-At-Large, Pamela.

Once we got everyone through security it was time to start the ceremony. I gave a opening speech to thank some VERY special individuals who have really given their all to our school over the years.

I started by thanking our amazing community. The love and support we have been given in our little school house has truly been overwhelming. We all know that our school is the heart of our community, but that saying goes both ways. Our community lies at the center of what is truly great about our school. So again community, thank you for loving us and I just want you to know that we love and thank you.

I also made a special presentation to our amazing TLC coordinator Anne and our out-of-this-world art teacher and Monhegan School staff member for the last EIGHT years, Donna for their contributions to our school! Both Donna and Anne have done more for our school than they could ever know and we are extremely grateful to both of them for being such an important part of our Monhegan School family!

Then it was time to get to the kids...

I started with this slide show to honor our school's journey over the last five years  while I was lucky enough to be the teacher! (Yes, I started crying by the time the slide show was over... I just had to give into the fact that it was going to be one WET graduation.)

Next Margaret came up to read a fun poem about kindergarten! She did a great job.

Then it was time to present her with her Kindergarten diploma and scrap book! I made sure to make note of what a huge addition Margaret was to our school this year! She was such a hard worker and so excited to be at school every single day! We know that she will represent the Monhegan School SO well in the years to come! She is one heck of a kid. 

When it was time to honor Quinn I wanted to do something a little extra special since Quinny was graduating as well, just not as an 8th grader. So Donna and I had something extra special planned for him.

We created a special "rap" about Quinn to share.

The best thing about all of this is that Quinn really hates it when I rap... which I do quite often, so it was the perfect way to give him one final send off from the Monhegan School!

You can imagine that the crowd was pretty impressed with our mad rhyming skills and I am pretty sure I heard Quinny laughing (and moaning with embarrassment) from from the audience.

See for yourself! It was pretty spectacular if I do say so myself.

After the rap I presented Quinn with his 6th grade diploma and scrapbook. I made sure to explain what a huge influence Quinn has played in not only my life, but many of those in our community as well. He is by far one of the sweetest, funniest, and most sincere people I have EVER met in my life. I know for a fact that he was able to make me smile every single day I had him in school over the last five years. There is no doubt that he is going to have one really cool life, because he is one REALLY cool kid!
(This is when the tears started flowing and they just wouldn't stop.)

Next it was time for Dalton's 8th Grade Project. In the past the graduating 8th graders put together something special to share with the community at their graduation. They might write a poem or speech or share a movie they created.

Dalton had been working on his project for the last month but would not tell me ANYTHING about it. In the end he surprised me and shared this AMAZING video tribute in honor of me! It was the sweetest, most wonderful thing anyone has ever done for me. I of course cried like a baby but also found myself laughing harder than I ever thought possible on such an emotional day! It was the funniest, kindest, most ridiculously amazing tribute in the whole wide world. I can't help but have a HUGE smile on my face just thinking about it!

I messed up some of the audio at the beginning of the slide show when I was uploading this to youtube... but it is still amazing. I am so lucky. Dalton Lee, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this fabulous gift. You have no idea how much it meant and still means to me.

After Dalton's amazing tribute I got another beautiful surprise!

Jes, our school board chairman, had the kids help surprise me with two beautiful blueberry bushes that are to be planted on Monhegan in my honor. Now, just like Dalton and Quinn, I will have something planted on Monhegan to always come back to. How amazingly special.

The blueberry bushes were chosen for me because of all the blueberry pies I make in the summer time at my "other" job at the Black Duck. The best part is that they will be planted in the back of that store... so special and perfect.

Then Dalton had one more surprise... an amazing speech he had written about his time on Monhegan and thanking some important individuals who have been there for him during his last eight years on this little island. For me, it was the most beautiful part of this beautiful day to watch this phenomenal young man, who has essentially been raised by this community, show such love and gratitude to all those that surrounded him. The love, support, and joy was tangible inside of our school. My heart felt like it could just burst. 

Then it was time to honor Dalton Lee. Senator Christopher Johnson made a wonderful speech about Dalton and about our school saying what an honor and joy it had been to be apart of our community on such a special day like this day. He said that he had been to a whole lot of 8th grade graduations during his time as Senator, but this was a truly special event.

Senator Johnson presented Dalton with an 8th Grade Citizenship award in honor of his work as a leader, role-model, and upstanding citizen not only in our school but also the greater island schools of the TLC and in our community! No one deserved this award more than Dalton! We were all so very, very proud.

Then it was time for Dalton's Tribute... a special video I put together so our Daltini would know how much we all love and support him as he goes off to his new adventure at Putney!

After the video I had to give my final speech for D. All I can say is that it was tough. This boy has touched my heart and made ME a better person over the last five years. He is someone who loves with his whole heart, takes risks, works hard, takes care of others, is not afraid to take a stand, and follows what he believes is right.  He has contributed SO much to our school and our community. He was put on this earth to do great things and I have no doubt that he is going to make us all extremely proud. It has been a true honor and privilege to be his teacher. A huge section of my heart with ALWAYS be reserved for him.

So needless to say it was pretty emotional presenting Dalton with his 8th grade diploma! There was not a dry eye in the house as our little Daltini officially graduated from the Monhegan School!

What an emotional roller coaster that ceremony was. We laughed, cried, reflected, and celebrated. 
It was absolutely, 100% perfect. Thank you to all who came to be apart of our special day and witness the pure love and joy we have built over our last five years together. There are no real words to describe what an amazing day it was. My heart is still full.