Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday the 13th--an Event-filled, Eventful and Wonderful Day!





A year ago about this time, my grandson came running into my office to tell me there were people across the street from our school who had on "inappropriate" t-shirts with words like titty on them. Come to find out that the parking lot across from our school was a cheering station for the Phoenix area Susan G. Komen Three Day Walk for the Cure.

We did an all-call on the intercom and let teachers and students know that the walkers would be passing by if they would like to go out and cheer them on. You could tell that the walkers were thrilled and touched to see all of the children out cheering for them. Many of them had cameras and were taking pictures.

Later that morning, the husband of one of my absolutely wonderful teachers, Martha, came into tell me that his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was going to need the rest of the year off to fight this awful disease.

About two weeks ago, Martha's sister contacted me and asked if she and her husband could donate pink bandanas
from the Susan J. Komen Foundation in Martha's honor to all of our students and staff. She, Martha's husband, and daughter had all been training to do this 3 day Walk for the Cure. Martha has an incredible blog where she has been recording her journey for the past year. It is Celebrating Life, One Day at a Time.

We found out that the walkers would be walking across from our school again this year at the beginning of the race. So we encouraged all of the children and staff to wear pink. On Friday morning they were given the bandanas to wear and to wave. Many classes made banners of encouragement and we had names of some of the different teams flashing on our marquee along with words of encouragement.

Our students lined the sidewalk and fence inside the school and cheered and waved their bandanas as the walkers passed. I can tell you that it brought tears to many eyes, including mine!

Our students were out there for quite some time cheering and showing support. I know that many of their teachers discussed the importance of this walk.

So for a part of the morning last Friday, we didn't do any math or reading, writing or science. What we did is show our children what it means to support a cause that touches so many women and so many families. What we did was show children about caring, community, and encouragement. I believe that the children will remember being a part of this long after they forget about what they learned that day in math. I believe so strongly that if we don't have children share and be involved in activities like this, that it won't matter in the future how good they are in science or math. We must continue to teach the whole child about caring, citizenship, empathy, respect....

The Dali Lama said, "I pray for a more friendly, more caring, and more understanding human family on this planet. To all who dislike suffering, who cherish lasting happiness, this is my heartfelt appeal."

I pray for that, too. Once again, I am so proud to be a part of a school community like Gilbert El!

Late Friday I received a call from my Aunt Teresa. She had just had a mammogram and she has to go in for a needle biopsy as soon as possible. The mammogram indicated that there is something in the place where she had breast cancer several years ago. At the time, it was a very treatable form and didn't require anything more than a lumpectomy and radiation. I hope and pray that this happening on the same day as this incredible event will be a good omen....

12 remarks:

Julie said...

Tears streaming down my face! I agree with you 100%...what those students learned on Friday was much more valuable than what we teach in a classroom. What that did for the walkers....oh my....I can only imagine it made their day and then some. Sheila I love it when you say you are proud to be a part of the Gilbert El family....I love it because it is so incredibly humble of you. YOU have created that community and you continue to nuture it. It is by your example that it exisits. I hope you know that....I hope you feel that everyday deep down to your core. You are such an example of all the good that can come to a school and community when you think outside the box.....when you treat ALL the needs of kids and families...not just the academic ones.

You are amazing!!

The Toenjes Family said...

That is just amazing Sheila...makes me miss Gilbert El even more!

N-Search of Peace! said...

This is community....
This is family....
This is the strength of prayer and hope....

To all our Martha's and their families and friends, may they continue to walk till this is no longer a walk to be walked towards....

N-Peace

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and emotional post Sheila. Thanks for letting us teach the "whole child"! I know this day meant so much to not only all of us but to Martha and her family! My prayers have already started for Aunt Teresa.
Love & hugs,
Nancy

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and meaningful day you gave you students, Sheila!! It must have meant the world to dear Martha and her family. Through walking beside Martha this past year, Gilbert Elementary also walks beside millions of other women giving them the same strength and support. How I wish I could have been there to see the continual love and friendship demonstrated by our Gilbert El. community!

Love,
Sandra

Tami Proffitt said...

THIS is beautiful...YOU are beautiful!

Lydia said...

It was a wonderful morning! I love working in such a great place where children are learning in so many different areas. Thanks Sheila for the community you have built.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Sheila, the cheers and tears will live through the years. The bandana words,"hope, courage, and strength" are in my prayers for Theresa.
Love,
Ann

Cheela said...

A really nice thing happened because of this. Martha forwarded me an email that came to all of the walkers from the organizers. It had Gilbert El as one of the highlights of Day 1!

velvet brick said...

I can't even put into words what that morning meant to me...and my students. I've tried, and I just can't. Sheila, you did a beautiful job describing that wonderful day. And I so agree....the objects and standards for that day can not be found on any state's department of education page.

May all of our prayers be heard, and may they be answered, too.

Jane said...

It was a beautiful celebration to be apart of. I get teary just thinking about those that have walked that journey. Hugs go out to Martha and Aunt Teresa.
Thanks for the beautiful community you have built. I am so blessed to work with you and so many other amazing people.

Meags said...

Thank you again.