A Summer Thomas Team Update
This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at www.ChristiThomas.com to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.
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Thanks to sweet family and friends who attended the dance recital last night. I'm so sorry I didn't make it back to the audience. As I said on stage last night, we knew this year's scholarship presentation would be especially difficult.Christi danced with all 8 beautiful Seniors and we have loved watching them grow up over the years and we look to them with great fondness because we see a bit of Christi reflected in each of these young ladies! They make us feel close to Christi and we love and adore them all! Almost all of them wrote about Christi in their scholarship essays and we thank them for sharing their personal and precious memories of her with us! We laughed and we cried reading the applications and trying to select our winner. Ultimately, we decided they were all winners and all needed to receive scholarships. Therefore congratulations to the $500.00 scholarship winners: Fran, Emily E., Emily F., Taylor, Kendra, Ceci & Kaitlyn. Congratulations to the $1,000 Christi Thomas Memorial Scholarship Winner: Allison Arnold. (Picture: Seniors with Shayla).
Months ago we were notified by the Seneca East High School principal that some of Christi's classmates had asked for Christi to be awarded an honorary diploma with them at graduation. You can't even believe how very touched we were by that - amazing kindness and thoughtfulness! Little did we know they would give us reserved seats, escort our family out and have a balloon release with "Christi" written on every balloon. I cried before, during and afternoon the ceremony - of course missing Christi and longing for her to be there and wondering what she'd be like today, but also crying tears of joy for amazing students we are so proud of and for their incredible compassion and love still shown for our family and for our bubbly little one who I know is always with them.
|This is my favorite picture! I had no idea they were doing a balloon release after the ceremony! We were escorted out after the graduates by the principal and superintendent and given a balloon. I saw Christi's name on it and assumed each graduate had a balloon with their own name on it, then I realized every balloon had the same thing on it! Sooooooo sweet!|
|I quickly thanked every School Board Member and Administrator and told them we really appreciated their kindness.|
|What an amazing school district filled with compassionate and thoughtful kids, families, teachers and administrators! I obviously wish Christi would have lived and graduated, but I am so grateful for this very loving act of all! God bless, Seneca East!|
|Definitely a bitter sweet day. I cried before, during and after just thinking about Christi and her "all too short life" and all that she could have become here on earth. I also cried with happiness for her sweet classmates who will go on to do great things and who will never forget our bubbly little giggly one!|
|Wow! So kind! Christi's honorary diploma from Seneca East High School|
|We are grateful for this quite little spot in front of the school.|
|A hug from one of Christi's best friends - Kaylyn who will always be treasured by our whole family.|
|I had the pleasure of serving as Owen's kindergarten and 7th grade teacher. Christi always liked Owen so of course we all did! He is a class act and was voted Class President. Congratulations, sweet Owen! We love you!|
|Shayla with Christi's other best friend, Theresa! We are so glad she's not going too far away for college; this way we can always be there for her if she ever needs us!|
|Ben was one of Christi's favorite guys. She always had great things to tell us about Ben as she really enjoyed being around him at school. Our very best wishes to a fine young man!|
|As soon as I realized all of the graduates' balloons had the same thing written on them, I started crying again. Too sweet!|
Monday night we presented the 8th annual Christi Thomas Memorial Scholarships to students at Seneca East. This one was particularly special and also the most emotional and difficult of all because they went to Christi's classmates (and my former sweet 7th grade students). This year's essays were the most touching we've ever received and we treasure the great memories and stories many of them shared with us about Christi - some we had never heard before. We know they loved her too and she has impacted their life and for that we are grateful.
|$1,000 Winners and four of the nicest young ladies you will ever meet! Theresa & Kaylyn were Christi's best friends and we see a bit of Christi in all of them. Kristen & Camiel wrote very thoughtful, loving and touching essays about Christi. Benjamin Frankart wrote an INCREDIBLE essay about Christi and he received a $1,5000 scholarship (not pictured). We love them all to the moon and back!!|
|$750.00 Scholarship Winners (not pictured: Tori S.) Great, great, great kiddos! I'm so proud of them! I was blessed to be their 7th grade teacher too. Christi loved being with them and while it breaks our heart she's not with them, we know she's with them in spirit wherever they go and in them we see a bit of her|
|Group Photo of the 2014 Christi Thomas Memorial Scholarship winners pictures with the three of us. Congrats to Christi's classmates! We love you all wish you the very, very best! You make us proud!|
Thank you, sweet friends for your love and encouragement! Thank you for remembering Christi and for understanding the pain that exists without her in our lives. I won't say Monday was not a tough one, nor that I didn't cry, but I will say I had to laugh at that little stinker a few times too. Applications for her Memorial Scholarships were due so I learned some very interesting things from her sweet classmates. One was brave enough to actually say she was "off her rocker" - yep! That was true! Another wrote Christi was so full of energy and life that she literally "bounced" as she walked - yep, she did! One wrote, "Christi was one of those exceptional people you want to be mad at because they're better than you at everything, except you just couldn't be mad at her because she was good at being your friend too." (And I learned Christi was not good at playing "Secret Agent" at recess! Hilarious!) Others sweetly wrote about how they often think of her and that she made them a better person. I read, "God sent Christi to teach us to take a step back from our so called "burdens" so that we can see them for what they honestly are." Oh, it's going to be very, very hard making scholarship selections this year! I wish I were rich! Thanks for lifting us up yesterday on what would have been her 17th birthday!