Today was our first day of school! And also our first day of service. Melissa and I asked each of our team members to write a piece about their day for the blog.
Several of the kids kept asking me if we would be here all week and were so excited when I said yes. It reminded me how special this week can be to the kids and us.
The most impactful part of my day was being in the math classes because I enjoyed the way he taught. He was laid back and would allow the students to teach each other versus him just telling them the answers or him just being the only source of help.
I felt like I brought life back into the students’ day! Gym class was no longer just gym class but an oasis of dodgeballs, jump ropes and fun.
I asked a kid, “Who taught you to color so well?” and he said, “My daddy, he’s in heaven now.”
The social studies class I had fourth period was when the kids finally started opening up. They were suddenly really interested in life in the southeast. We talked about the different foods for half an hour.
Talking to a student during lunch with Sean [was the most impactful part of my day]. The student was excited to talk to us and it was nice with just the three of us.
After I got hit in the head accidentally by a very squishy ball, a little girl about five years old called me over to the side to make sure I was okay. I’m a stranger to this girl, and had only said a few words to this girl before that.
Classroom behavior in the Hoonah Schools is very different from what I grew up with in North Carolina, I noticed. There were students who were very interested in college opportunities and asked how we paid for them. I thought it was cool at lunch when the girls I ate with at lunch compared the different types of food that we ate. I also got to do paper mache, which was awesome.
It’s all about the kids; if I can make a difference in at least one of their lives, I will feel accomplished.
I was given three invitations to lunch by three different elementary school children, and I felt very welcomed into the school. Also, I was offered a ride back to the bunkhouse by one of the teachers I spent most of the day with. Very generous.
Having a fourth grader ask me if an old team member came back this year. It is so humbling to think about the impact an individual student made on the life of such a young child.
Having a second grader incorporate me into one of her stories as someone she walked to the end of a rainbow with and find a leprechaun and gold [was really cool].
Listening to the members of the Senior Center tell stories about spending their entire lives in Hoonah was very interesting and different to hear.
At breakfast this morning, I saw Larry who is the grandfather of one of the kids at school and also an elder in the tribe. Last year I bonded with him through my daily lunches at the Senior Center. When he saw me, he said, “Susan!” and, though, not my name, he came over to hug me. Later some other members of the community told me how excited Larry was that I came back because he had predicted it. That really warmed my heart and reminded me why I am here.
One of the junior girls asked myself and Lydia tons of questions about what college is like, how to help pay for it and different things to expect on the application process and living on her own. It made me excited that I was able to help in some way.
I was impacted by our team and how everyone served the school well by using their diverse talents. I personally witnessed Phillip taking over gym and making it enjoyable for the kids, Bruna simultaneously holding hands with ten Kindergarteners, and Jordan taking the lead in a group dance at the youth center. The school received a breath of fresh air and the foundation was laid for transformative relationships to be made.