Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Truly Remarkable Year

It's been one for the books. First of all, we got a blog and blogs seem to make everything better! I have to admit it has been so much fun to share all of our school's happenings with all of our distant (and close, like island close) blogging community. This blog has made me realize even more what a fantastic school we have and how lucky we all are to be apart of it. There is so much we should be proud of at our school.

I know we are proud of our little white building with the ocean view. We are proud of our garden and our school puppies who like to stand watch outside. We are VERY proud of our community and the amount of support and love they give to our school. We are proud of all we do as a school and how we bring our community together to enjoy themselves and each other. We are proud of all the hard work we do in that little white building everyday and how we work together as a team, even more so, a family. 

I know I am proud to call my students my family. And I am proud of each one of them for so many reasons...

I am proud of Jorgie.

and Arlo

and Quinn

and Dalton

and of course, Gabe.

I am proud of the people they are and I am already proud of the people they will become.

Thank you for coming along with us this year. It has been a wonderful ride!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Greetings, Graduation, and Goodbyes...

Our last day of the year began on the wharf. A little birdie had told us that a VERY special guest was arriving for Gabe's graduation. So instead of morning meeting we had a nice "morning greeting" at the wharf. I can't even tell you how exciting it was for Wyatt to be here for the last day of school and you know who was that most thrilled? Gabe! It made his graduation day all the more special. Gabe and Wyatt's friendship is very sweet; as Gabe says, "We are BFFs!"

We were very fortunate that Wyatt's name only has five letters! As I passed out the letters to the kids Quinn asked, "What does this spell?" I told him to look at the letters and think about who we came to greet this morning. "Matty?" he asked. Well, I guess if the W is flipped you can't really argue with him. (We will be doing some extra work in spelling next year!)

Who wouldn't want to be greeted like this!?

As the boat approached we couldn't see Wyatt anywhere, just a lot of tourists who was wondering what was going on. And then he appeared...

Boy, have we missed this boy!

Our guidance councelor Jean came as well... bringing with her a little gift for our graduate.

And with that it was like Wyatt had never left. The kids started hugging him, putting him on their shoulders and lugging him around like their pet.

Some sweet brother/sister love on the wharf! We were ALL about love on the last day of school.

Before we knew it was time for graduation. Here the graduate and two of his "BFF's" hang out before commencement.

Some Monhegan School Alumni in the front row for graduation! 

First it was time to recognize all each of the students for ALL of their work this year. 
To begin, Jorgie, for her courage and strength in being the youngest and only girl student and for her kindness and sweetness.

Then Arlo... A thank you for his creativity and his ability to always be himself. He has grown so much this year!

And Quinn... the helper of the year. He was so kind and such a great role model at school. This was his best year yet!

And Lastly, dependable Dalton... he has such a great work ethic and compassion for others. He is a fantastic student.

Next Dalton made a sweet speech in honor of Gabe. He was funny and thoughtful and endearing.

Next up our 8th grader made a speech thanking everyone for coming and mentioning some of the things he will miss about Monhegan. I pretty much was on the verge of tears, but held it together.

And then it was time for the video. Let me tell you about the video... it was a tribute to Gabe that contained words of wisdom and well wishes from many people from our community. Let me tell you, some of these words of wisdom were pretty priceless such as, "Always keep a good book in your backpack," "take care of your teeth," "don't fry bacon naked," "always be yourself," "if you ever get a house, keep it in your name" and some words in Polish that we are still trying to translate! It made us laugh out loud and cry some pretty sweet tears.

Along with video of community members there was also some footage of Gabe when he was two years old running around on Monhegan and playing with his old pal, Wolfie! There was footage of people giving Gabe advice when he was two years old that were the same people that were sitting in the school house on his graduation day. Now that is what is called community support. What a gift for an eighth grader to know that he has so many people who love and support him. That does not happen in every town.

Then it was time for my speech. Gabe told me I couldn't cry. So when I practice the morning of graduation and sobbed like a little baby. I was pretty nervous, but I have to say I held out pretty well and only teared up at the end.

And then the presentation of his 8th grade diploma! He did it! 10 years at the Monhegan School! YAHOO!

Hugs. This boy is a pretty phenominal young man.

More congratulatory hugs from happy community members.

Posing with his diploma.

Mother/son photo. 

Mother/daughter photo!

Very proud of Dalton's speech.

Gabe with his Mama and teacher.

Yay teachers!!!!

And then it was time to party!

When I asked Gabe what he wanted to do to celebrate his graduation his answer was, "Pie and Froth!" (Froth = frisbee + golf).

So pie and froth it was!

I think the kids approved of Gabe's celebratory choices!

Dalton certainly did.

Then it was froth time!

We had 12 "holes" set up through town and three teams. Pretty much you try to get your frisbee to the designated target in as few throws as possible.

But unfortunately we kept loosing the frisbee in bushes and trees.

The kids were deeeeep inside this bush to try and find the missing frisbee.

Lots of waiting in the hot sun meant we cut the holes down to seven and ended the game early so the kids could go swimming!

Gabe announced the winner and we called it a day... well a year, for that matter!

The last day came to an end and summer had officially begun! It was the perfect ending to the perfect last day of the PERFECT school year.

End of year traditions

We have a lot of "end of year" traditions at our school. The first is... packing up the entire school. Yea, doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun you say? Well, it isn't. Our school house also serves as a sort of community building and in the summer time our school is rented out to different groups and organizations which means we have to pack and stuff away all the desks, book cases, tables, and so on into every nook and cranny of our little school house. It is quite the task, but luckily this year the middle schoolers were strong enough to do a lot of the muscle work! And that made their teacher ever so happy!

Seriously, I have waited a long time to have my kids be able to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to packing up our school!

My muscles thank you boys!

And look how happy they are... silly kids who actually like moving and lifting things.

Aww, super cute.

Another end of year tradition is our trip to the Novelty for free ice cream (and other delicious treats!) We are very grateful to the Novelty folks who supply us with free ice cream as a "way to go! You made it through the year" treat!

We usually get our end of year ice cream on the last day of school, but this year we went a day early because of 8th grade graduation.

Now that is a face who is excited for some traditional ice cream.

She was so excited she got to have TWO scoops.

It may have been raining on ice cream day, but the ice cream still tasted as good as ever!

And our final tradition: planting a tree for our graduating eighth grader. Above is Gabe's pine tree. It is so cute.

The fabulous Kathie has taken on making sure this tradition continues for the kids at our school. I am lucky to have Gabe's tree planted in my yard. That means I can hang out with him (in the form of a tree) any time I want!

It's a lot of work to plant one's tree...

Good thing we brought reinforcement.

Did I mention it was raining the whole time we were planting? We didn't mind... and neither did the tree.

Time to roll that baby into the whole.

Cutting the tree loose. I named him Arnold in honor of Gabe's memorable role as Governor Arnold in the Christmas play.

Each tree that is planted for a graduating eighth grader there is a certain meaning behind it. Gabe asked for a pine tree because it is pretty common on Monhegan and just blends in among the rest of the trees, which is what he likes to do.

Gabe and his peeps.

I have to say I love this tradition.