The last week of the 2017-2018 school year provided for a lot of “Great Story” moments! With the EOGs over, students and teachers alike across both Vance and Jones Elementary were in a relieved and celebratory mood all week. Many of the groups and programs I was involved with had their final meetings and celebrations during this last week, and as a result, I was given the chance to see almost every student I ever served at both schools one last time.
At Vance, the Youth Transformed for Life’s Girls Group I helped coordinate every other Friday ended as the students and I had a pizza party with the group leader. Several of the girls signed up for a summer program that she would also be leading, and I have since been helping coordinate for that as well. The Boys Group also came to a close, with their group leader providing a send-off and congratulations to the 5th grade boys that would be moving up to Middle School next year. Most importantly, I was able to meet with both of my Little Brothers at Vance on the last couple days of school. I played basketball, both real (on the court!) and virtual (on my gaming laptop!) with both of them on different days, and we talked about summer plans (one of them is going to Texas!). I found out that they both plan to go to the summer BBBS match activity at the Nature Center on July 14th, so I will get to have one more chance to see them both this summer!
At Jones, we had our final day of Cubs and Hugs afterschool on the Friday before, where we watched a recent movie based on the book (which we also read in the weeks before) called “Wonder,” about a boy with facial differences struggling to find friendship and acceptance at school. The kids were very invested in the story and seemed to take its message to heart! We said our goodbyes and wished them all a great summer and good luck next year. A moment that really stood out for me, however, is when the final day of classes came around and I got to see several students who had left the afterschool program earlier in the year, providing a surprise opportunity to say bye to some of the students I thought I might never see again! I even got some help completing some of my final-day tasks around the school! They were each very happy to get to see me one more time and all reported having done well on their EOGs, seeming to look forward to the next year. At dismissal, I held the door open to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade hall as nearly all the students I had met over the year passed through and waved me bye.
In all it was a very heartwarming and fulfilling final week. Now I just have this summer to look forward to. In addition to my Littles, there’s a good chance I will see a few more of the students I’ve served with, and likely meet a few new ones!