Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pennies make dollars

Yesterday at school we kicked off a fundraising campaign for a charity called Pennies for Peace. (You can click the link to find out more)

This amazing charity was started by a very humble man by the name of Greg Mortenson. Greg was visiting another country when he became very ill. The men and women of this country took care of him until he was well and as he left, he promised them he would re-pay them. As he spent time in this country, he saw many children writing in the dirt with sticks and no teacher. When he inquired about this, the children told him they had to share their teacher with a neighboring village because they could not afford the teacher's $1/day salary - so they had to split the time and salary. Greg saw a need, and stepped up to the plate. He returned to the United States and sent out over 500 letters of request for donations - he did not get one single donation. His mother, an elementary principal, granted him permission to kick-off a fundraiser in her building. This fundraiser raised almost $1,000 in just 6 weeks! And so Pennies for Peace was born.

We had an all-school assembly to kick-off this charity campaign in our building yesterday afternoon. Our librarian, who is heading up this wonderful cause, stood up and told the kids all about it - which got them very excited, but what she said at the end of her speech is what really impacted all of us. She said to them, "Boys and girls, it doesn't matter to me if you bring in a gazillion pennies or zero pennies. The most important thing you can do for this cause is to appreciate the education you are granted here at Mark Twain and in this country." You could've heard a pin drop in that room.

In the introductory video we showed the kids, one student being interviewed from the United States summed things up pretty perfectly. He said, "Here in the United States, well we have to go to school. It's a requirement. In Pakistan, and lots of other countries around our world, well, it's a privledge". How true those words are.

How often I forget the privledges I have been granted - not because of the kind of person I am, not because of how hard I work, just simply because I was blessed to be born in the United States.

If you are interested in making a donation, please don't hesitate to contact me. Our school goal is to raise $5,000 over the course of the next year. That $5,000 will supply one school for an entire year. Amazing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prayers Please...

Please pray for my Uncle Paul who had a heart attack last night and is still in ICU as of this afternoon. He is a very active business owner who has a pretty on-the-go-all-the-time lifestyle. He loves his family with his whole heart and is one of the most kind, gentle, and humble men I have ever met. He and his family are in need of prayers right now - prayers for comfort, peace, healing, and strength.

Peace & Love

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring is in the air...

I have grown to love the season of spring. Everything is new again. New leaves, new flowers, new green grass...and now I have another item to add to my fifth grade attitudes.

I mean to tell you, evidently when April arrives, 5th graders decide it's time for them to know everything. It was like a switch, seriously. Suddenly, they all want my job. "When are we doing this?" "Why do we have to do that?" "I think we should do it this way instead" "What time are we doing _____?" All. Day. Long. Today, I took the opportunity to remind them that I went to school for a long time to get to do my job. If they wanted my job, they'd have to wait a good 12 years. Sad for them.

Aside from this new item on my list, I have developed spring fever right along with my students. I find it easier to get up and going most days, I want to be more productive, I'm constantly cleaning/organizing something, I just am overall in a much better mood.

On another happy note, Middle Road is back to 2 lanes. That also helps my mood for the day. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bad Start...

I'm telling you, there is nothing that starts my day out on the wrong foot than sitting in traffic for 15 minutes because Middle Road is down to one lane! To make the situation even more irritating, I finally get up to the construction which has caused the lane closure, only to see 1 man down in the hole working, and approximately 9 others standing there watching him. Honestly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

John 15:13

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

People all around the Quad Cities have been captivated by the recent death of U.S. Army Cpl. Jason Pautsch - a 20 year old Davenport native. It has been on the news, in the paper, on the internet - everywhere we look, we are reminded.

Today, my class and I were discussing current events and this one obviously came up, as it is something that makes the war real to them. I have to be honest, it was really hard for me to discuss this with my students today. Tears formed in my eyes more than once hearing them talk about and realize the magnitude of life, or the loss of life. I have known since before I started this job that there would be many opportunities for me to help my students see the world through "new" eyes - but I was inspired by them today. I was inspired by their compassion for a man and his family - people they don't even know, and more by their respect for the sacrifice he made for our country, and specifically them.

They helped me to sort through my feelings and helped me to slow down for a minute. This war has been going on for so long that sometimes it just becomes "something that's happening an entire world away from us", "something that other cities, other states, other families, other communities have to deal with", "something that is part of life". In reality, that's not the case at all. My twenty-seven 11-year-olds helped me to slow down and remember that this war is something we all need to think about, and that the men and women fighting this war for us are making an enormous sacrifice so that we may live in safety.

I am more thankful than ever today for Cpl. Jason Pautsch and the countless other men and women who have fought this battle. As one of my fifth graders (we'll just call him T) said today, "It's just so great that someone else would put their life on the line so that I can go to sleep in my bed tonight knowing that I'm safe."

Pretty much sums it all up right there.

I'm baaaccckkk...!! :)

Ok, the past few months have been really kind of a blur for me. I can't really put my finger on what specifically has caused me so much difficulty, but it seems time just continues to fly by me and I can't really seem to catch up with it.

In any event, I have made a commitment to myself that I am going to update this blog on a regular (or at least reasonable) basis. There are so many amazing things going on in my life right now that I want to be sure to capture every single on of them.

I have lots of pictures to upload, but that will have to wait because they're not on this computer. So, for now I'll just give you a preview of what's to come: Easter fun, Dance competitions, classroom fun, and very soon some new Kaitlyn, Sam & Maicey pics!

Thanks for being so patient with me. I hope all is well with each of you. :)