This week Ms. B. had her last day of elementary school. We are now, officially, the parents of a middle schooler. Let that strike fear into your hearts.
This past Tuesday there was a small graduation ceremony for the 6th grade class where her teacher made me tear up by pulling me aside and saying, “I’ve loved having Ms. B. in my class. She’s such an amazing kid. When I talk to the other teachers here everyone says, ‘I can’t believe how far she’s come. We were worried about her, but she worked so hard and figured it out.’ She’s a joy to have in the classroom. The energy and enthusiasm I saw in her this year will server her well in the future.” I’m sure Ms. B’s teacher said all sorts of nice things to all of the parents, he’s just that sort of guy. But I was really touched. And he’s so right.
We were all worried about Ms. B. early on in elementary school. Kindergarten and First Grade were honestly a terrible struggle. By second grade, Ms. B. was ‘failing’ (as much as they let you ‘fail’ in elementary school) virtually every subject and we were spending hours every night fighting with tears through homework that was taking other students in her class fifteen to twenty minutes. She was in remedial reading and remedial math. She just didn’t seem to ‘get it.’ But Ms. B. kept working hard and slowly but surely she turned it all around. This year on the last day of school she brought home the best report card she’s ever had (all ‘A’s’ and two “B’s”). Her science grade, in particular, was a 100%. Her state assesment scores were all at the “exceeds standards” level or higher. She brought home a trophy for receiving the highest score at the Math Pentathalon. I couldn’t be prouder of her. And it’s all the sweeter knowing that these successes do not come easy for her, that they are the result of her hard work and effort.
Recently my cousin Kate, a college student, received a letter in the mail. It started, “Dear Future Katie” and was a series of questions she wrote to her future self in fifth grade, things she wondered about her future. I thought it was a great idea and asked Ms. B. to do the same. Here is her letter:
Dear Future Ms. B.,
Do you still twirl your hair? Do you dye your hair? Do you have glasses? Are you six feet tall? Is your favorite color still light green? Is your favorite movie still “The Hunger Games?” Are Katie and Lennah still your best friends? Do you still play SIMS? Do you have a cool car? Do you have an iPhone?
Do you still live with your mom? In Kansas? In the United States? Have you visited Europe? Australia? Did D ever do what he wanted and have us all live in a city in Europe for a month in the summer? I think that sounds pretty cool.
Did you go to SME? Did you go to KU? Was your Dad mad at you for being a Jayhawk? Did you get your medical degree?
Is the Peanut still blonde? Are her eyes still blue? Is she still short? Is her favorite word still ‘no?’ Does George play the guitar? Like, really play?
Is Justin Bieber still annoying? Has a woman been President of the United States?
I can’t wait to learn the answers!
Ms. B. in front of our house on the first day of Kindergarten, and at her school in the last month of Sixth Grade.