Everyone looks forward to the end of the school year, and this year was special for me for a few reasons.
First, I had such a great year teaching first grade. I learned so much, worked so hard, and had so much fun with my awesome little people.
Second, my sisters were here for the last week of school, so I knew I'd have help maintaining home life while I worked on finishing up projects, testing, grades, etc.
Third, I knew that this would be my last year at the school. This would mean the end of a special chapter of my life. I've been with Ta'iala Academy since it was a spark of an idea in 2010. I've worked and worked and worked for almost every aspect of its existence. As with any project that takes life, I've seen successes and failures, and learned from the climb. And now I'm moving on. It hasn't quite hit me that this change is taking place.
I was so pleased with how our last few days with the school unfolded.
Our last day of school, Wednesday, was our awards ceremony. The weather that day was especially dark and stormy, with pouring rain and scary thunder and lightning. A lot of people stayed home. (I would've done the same, but I sorta had to be there.) We had to move everyone into my classroom instead of the fale because of the weather.
Good thing Rachel and Marcie had helped me clean it the day before! (Thank you sisters!)
The brave souls that came enjoyed a short but very sweet presentation of awards.
Everytime the thunder clapped the students got a little frightened. I told them it was just the angels in heaven clapping for them, and then they were happy for the thunder.
Seven of my Eleven Cute Firsties with some of their awards
Owen with the Awesome Ms. Kristin(The other day I held up one of Owen pictures and didn't know which way was up. He said, "No Mama, it's portrait, not landscape." Okay thank you 3 yr old. And thank you Ms. Kristin!)
After this our car got stuck in the mud (how many times has that happened at Ta'iala?) and Mr. Isaia had to rescue us. What a guy!
That evening some of the teachers came to my house to relax and play some games with my sisters. It was so nice to not have to worry about getting ready for school the next day!
Thursday my sisters left after almost being swept out to sea. And our car decided it needed a rest after getting stuck in the mud, so the alternator went out. All's well because we sold it Saturday anyway. Bye Kia Sedona! Thanks for 6 years of fun.
On Friday was 8th Grade Graduation. There were five graduates (last year there was one). Ephraim and I were invited to speak. It was a real honor to address the families and students and remind us all of our great potential, if we're brave and move forward with faith. The class sang a song and did a great job. Aren't they good-looking?
Eighth grade rocking the stage
The next day we had a Farewell potluck at the school for us and Ms. Kristin. It was so sweet of San and Tolo HoChing to organize the potluck. They are such an awesome family!
We had a nice time with lots our friends.
They surprised us with a beautiful plaque of appreciation and matching "I Am Ta'iala" t-shirts for the whole family.
Then they let us say a few words, so we could express our gratitude and love.
I had a feeling this was coming, so I brought something to read so I wouldn't just cry the whole time.
that this Academy will
be a refuge for our children,
an inspiration for them to excel
and reach their greatest potential,
a partner with their parents to expand the classroom into their homes,
and the motivation to continue
their education throughout their life,
all in a safe, healthy and fun environment.
May the teachers fortunate enough to
be part of these young lives
guide and direct them in their learning venture,
and be more concerned about "process"
and less about "product".
May each child feel special,
that he can express himself
in a safe, non-competitive environment.
May all parents feel welcome,
and that they are an integral part
of their child's education,
and appreciate their role as the
primary and most important
Teacher in their child's life.
-Karen HoChing, Founder of Ta‘iala Academy
I believed this could come true. And it is. That's what's so neat about faith.
Kristin got her t-shirt as well, and addressed the group, expressing her love especially for her students and how once she met them she felt confident that everything would be fine. (Photobomb by Hueina.)
Me and Kristin with the Amazing Mele who's also been there since Day 1
With San, who brings the Party
It was such a nice afternoon! Teri lent us her truck car for a few days, so the kids were thrilled when they got to ride home in the back.
(For those looking closely, this is the road going up to Mapusagafou, and you can see where MacDow has already put gutters on both sides in preparation to pave the road... After three years of me driving this nightmare buss-up pock-mark riverbed everyday, they finally pave it the month I leave. Go figure.)
I will always treasure this:
Hopefully this great cause will continue on for many years to come!