Today, July 30, is our Aunt Teresa's birthday!! She is 86 years old. Last year, we had a wonderful celebration for her 85th Birthday here in Gilbert. Over 100 relatives and friends joined us for the weekend to honor this wonderful lady.
Teresa is in Douglas right now. Kerri, Cameron, and Kerri's friend went down on Monday. They fixed dinner for her last night, as they had to return to Gilbert today.
As I have said in previous entries, our family is blessed to have her in our lives!! I am so thankful for everything that she has done for me and for my children. She is truly one of the kindest, gentlest, people that you would ever want to meet. We are blessed to have her in our lives!!
She is so thrilled that we have made contact with some of our relatives in Ireland.
So, Teresa, happy 86th and here's to many more!!!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Posted by Cheela at 6:38 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I have had a bit of writer's block lately (that and the fact that things have been a bit dull). But something awesome happened today!!
When I started writing this blog, it was just with the intention of chronicling the trip to Ireland during spring break. However, I had forgotten how much I enjoy writing and so it continued. Several weeks ago, I received an email that someone had posted a comment on one of my early blogs. It was before we went to Ireland and I had found a letter that Teresa had written 30 years ago. The person who commented lives in Ireland and her family name is the same as my great grandmother's--Kneafsey. This is not a common name. I was able to find her name and phone number on the internet and I called yesterday and left a message. Well, Michele just called me and we had a wonderful visit. She is a doctor and lives in County Donegal. Today is her birthday!!
I am thinking that her great grandfather and my great grandmother were brother and sister. We talked for some time. Her great grandfather was William Kneafsey. He was a school teacher in Ballycastle, County Mayo. My great grandmother was Ellen Kneafsey Roughan. Michele told me that her great grandfather's father was John Kneafsey. Ellen had a son named John who died in 1904 in Bisbee, Arizona.
Anyway, I am really excited that we were able to talk. I will send her email address to my cousins.
I just got off the phone with Teresa. She was very excited that I heard from Michele. She just got back from our cabin in the Chiricahua Mountains and she said it was absolutely gorgeous. She said there was more water in the creek than she has ever seen.
So once again, thank you to my friend, Carol, for prodding me into doing this blog! I am really excited to have made contact with Michele in Ireland!!
Posted by Cheela at 3:26 PM
Friday, July 18, 2008
Last school year was perhaps the most difficult year that I have ever had in my educational career. Every year we face new challenges and problems, but for some reason last school year was different. Even though according to the State of Arizona our school is considered "highly performing," (which is the second highest rank a school can be), we didn't make AYP--adequate yearly progress which is part of the federal law, No Child Left Behind. The reason we didn't make it is very complicated, but basically it is because we followed our special education students' legal document called an IEP and allowed many of them to have accommodations during testing. As a result, those students didn't count as being tested and so we were considered a failure. There are over 100 ways a school can fail.
Our staff is second to none and they do incredible things for kids. This was very demoralizing to everyone. I tried every trick that I knew to help with morale and it just wasn't enough.
On top of that, after 36 years in education and 18 as a principal, I was given a "coach" to help me figure out what to do!! What an experience that has been!!
In addition, we had several things occur that were totally out of the ordinary and created a lot of extra work and stress.
But we survived!!! And one of the best things about being in education is that every year is a new year. Everyone gets a fresh start.
I think that those who work in what I call "the real world" don't truly understand the day to day operations of a school. A school is a microcosm of our society with all that is good and bad and everything in between.
So over the weeks since school was out, I have had a lot of time to reflect on this past year. I am not sure I could have or would have done anything differently. However, I am really glad that I saw that quote in Las Vegas. I have had time to think about it quite a bit. And I am really looking forward to the 2008/09 school year. I have faith that it is going to be a great one. I believe so much that we can make a difference in the lives of children and families and that is why I get up every day and go back to my school. It is more than a job to me and I am excited that I can continue to be a part of such a great place with so many great teachers, staff, kids, and families!!
Posted by Cheela at 5:08 PM
Sunday, July 6, 2008
For the 4th of July weekend, Kerri, Cameron, Judy, Ryan, Kayla and I and the pugs and Judy's dog, Rex, went to Douglas. The 4th of July in Douglas is always a fun time. The weather down in southeastern Arizona is so much nicer than here in the valley. The monsoons are starting right about now and the afternoons usually produce a thunderstorm.
Posted by Cheela at 7:24 PM