Support For Christi Thomas

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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Saturday, May 02, 2009

4H Horse Princess Contest

Shayla learned about the Horse Royalty at her 4H meeting and wanted to enter the Horse Princess contest so we let her. Last night interviews were held. Here are three of the four contestants for the princess division. Shayla interviewed last because she was the youngest of all the kids and they went from oldest to youngest starting with the 18 year olds. That gave Shayla more time to socialize. She was so happy walking around talking with her "horse friends" while waiting for her turn. Sometime before the fair they'll let the kids know who won.

GOLDFISH UPDATE: Last week before her other 4H club's meeting Shayla called Wal-Mart to see of their decision regarding donating 50-75 gold fish for the 4H Family Kick Off Night. Much to her delight, they agreed to donate all of the fish and we will be picking them up next week before the event. She couldn't believe the good news and was happy to tell about it at the meeting.

NEW SCHOOL UPDATE: Over the course of the week, we've been hearing from many parents, students and former students from the new school. Shayla has been reassured she has the hardest teacher at the school and that next year she will have it made because the 4th grade teacher made them work so hard and learn so much this year. I think hearing that over and over again from so many has been a comfort for her to hear. As the week went on Shayla wanted to go in the school without Shayne which I thought was great. (And Shayne learned to make certain she had her glasses.) Shayne said her teacher is very sweet and he really likes her.

It also gave me peace when Shayla was invited over for a second play date with a sweet little friend at the new school so she headed over there this afternoon and she had a wonderful time. As the week went on we started hearing about more little friends and I noticed by the end of the week she was no longer sitting alone when the bus dropped her off. On Friday she told me about the school talent show and that her new friend wanted to be in it with her. (I nearly cried hearing that.) I was glad she was interested in doing that. We'll see if they're able to come up with an "act" for the school's annual talent show. Any ideas for a couple of ten year old girls?

Shayla was looking forward to her play date this afternoon and during dinner last night she described this girl as the "perfect student". Then she laughed and said, "SE didn't have any of those. We were all just the same. Here, I'm definitely at the bottom." I said, "Yes, that's why you go to the HEIGHTS program one day a week. They really don't want to hurt your feelings and let you know that God didn't wire your brain properly and you need extra help to learn, that's why they gave it a great name like HEIGHTS." Oh, we really laughed hard over that one and then she got a bit upset indicating she really feels behind.

Over the past 15 years, our school had three families I am friends with switch from Republic to this little elementary school and being close with those families they told me they felt their kids were indeed behind when they moved. As a Republic teacher, I couldn't believe that....and then this. Now I totally believe it!

This week I learned Shayla is behind in a few areas. One day her classroom teacher wrote me a note. "Shayla's behind in division. I am also seeing other holes and I will let you know what they are so you can work with her before 5th grade." Thankfully, she told me what those areas are so I can help her. I am sooooooooo glad she made the switch NOW instead of waiting five more months. I wouldn't have thought of it myself, but thankfully the night I got the job offer I called Dr. Armstrong and Dr. Grine and they both said, "Switch her now!". Thank God for smart and insightful friends! This summer I will make certain Shayla is where she needs to be before fifth grade. Thankfully, all of her papers have been As and Bs so I can't believe she's that far behind. I think it's just that all the textbooks are different. I think they're learning similar things, but in different ways. I know she will be fine!

Here are some comments written by others regarding her week:

Classroom Teacher: "She is a very cooperative young lady! She'll really do well I'm sure!"

Playground Aide: Looked like Shayla was having a good time today on the playground. On the way in the school from recess she was talking to a friend. Looking happy.

Principal: I checked on her a couple of times, once before Accelerated Math and then again after lunch, in the hall, when the students were going back to class. She responded both times that all was going well.

HEIGHTS Teacher: Shayla did a wonderful job today. The students were all glad she was here and she seemed to fit right in. She answered a lot of questions, spoke right up in discussion and she did a WONDERFUL art piece at the divergent thinking station. The other students commented on how cool it was. I hope she enjoyed it as much as she seemed to.

One of my sweet students, who moved in this year, asked how Shayla was doing and I told her that she didn't like her new school. She said, "Tell her I said the first two weeks are the hardest and then it's so much better after that." I hope her words are true. I did submit my official resignation (effective June 3rd) and it was very hard to do, but I wanted the school to have as much time as possible to get a language arts teacher to replace me. Saying goodbye to my sweet and hardworking (and funny) colleagues is going to be so hard. Six of them have now come to me saying, "Take me with you!" (Our big state testing week was this week and it stresses many of us out! I think that along with the end of the year coming has caused a lot of tension.) I keep telling them to go to www.OSU.edu and to check out the Ph.D. program. I would love to get to work with so many of them again one day! I will miss them (and my students) terribly! We have such a great school!

When I wasn't distracted worrying about Shayla, I had a very exciting week. Things really clicked with my dissertation. Also, I only have five more interviews to conduct (out of 33). I think I'll finish with my data collection about one week early; that will give me one more week of the hard stuff - data analysis, the writing of my final two chapters and preparing for my defense.

I also received some sample textbooks from a publishing company. To have the opportunity to select my own texts for my classes at BG and to be looking at 2010 editions has been really exciting. I loved getting to do that at Heidelberg and I was concerned that maybe BGSU would assign me a text and a syllabus instead of letting me create my own, whew! I still keep pinching myself and asking God, "Did I really get this job?!" I'm so looking forward to it! Being finished for the week on Wednesdays this fall, I was able to arrange a long weekend trip to a city we've never been to before. I am so excited about being able to spend time with "some of my favorite people" as Shayne said when he suggested I get the group together and go! And I'm so thankful I'll be able to do with with my new schedule. God is good!

DANCE PICTURES WERE THIS MORNING! Why do I always remember the "dance picture days" with Christi. Thankfully, I only had to witness one "sisters' picture" today as I knew that would hurt so bad and it did. Sometimes it just hit me and stops me dead in my tracks.....like this week when I simply went in to pick up a gallon of milk. As I reached for the jug, it seemed like the expiration date was blinking at me in bold neon letters - 05/12/09 (what should have been Christi's 12th birthday, an upcoming day I've been dreading). Did others in the store think I was crazy crying in the milk aisle, probably. May they never walk in my shoes. I wouldn't ever want anyone to be able to really understand.

(PIC: Shayla - far right - joking around with some of her jazz class friends. No, the afro is not the girl's real hair, but what a hoot!)
(PIC: Shayla - second from left - with some of her ballet friends 'on pointe'.)
We weren't dressed very fancy, compared to the other ladies at Toledo Raceway Park late this afternoon, but we did have a grand time up there watching the horse races and of course checking out the fancy hats and outfits that many of the ladies wore to the racetrack in Toledo today. We were quite surprised by the winner of the 135th Kentucky Derby too; it was a fabulous race! I hope you had a great Saturday!

5 Comments:

At 2/5/09 11:33 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

Hi Shayla,

Being able to participate in the talent show is a definite silver lining in starting at your new school! This could be a great opportunity to meet the other students in your school who love the performing arts just like you. When I was your age I memorized and performed a long Shel Silverstein poem for my school's show. In a monologue-style, complete with costume. You could do something similar as a duet by taking turns with the verses. Whatever talent you choose to display, I hope you have lots of fun. Let your star shine bright!

Many blessing to the Thomas family.

 
At 3/5/09 6:45 AM, Blogger Tracy'sspace said...

I am so glad to hear that things are improving a bit. Been feeling sad for Shayla. What a life change, but it sounds like the right one!

 
At 3/5/09 7:50 PM, Blogger Team Russi said...

I changed schools several times through elementary and high school. I have to agree with your student's assessment: the first two weeks really are the hardest. After that, your new-ness has worn off and you settle into a new routine. I'm happy to say that I have retained friends from all of my schools, and my circle is that much wider now. I hope Shayla shares the same positive experience.

 
At 4/5/09 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you graduating this june angela?

 
At 5/5/09 9:43 AM, Anonymous Kyna Petersen said...

My ten year old is doing the Hannah Montana line dance with a couple of her friends. You can view it on youtube.com. It is so cute! Just an idea for you guys if you don't have something else already.

 

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