Last Sunday was Mother's Day and each year gets better as my children grow older and marry in-laws that are good to me as well. I have such a range of ages in children that I get the best of both worlds.
The heart-warming hand-drawn cards from Rebeca, she couldn't even wait until Sunday to give it to me. She asked me Friday evening if I wanted to see "my Mother's Day surprise" from her. It was so cute, I used it as a pattern and we made them Sunday in the nursery for all the children to give to their moms.
First of all, we traced around the child's hand on a piece of construction paper. We cut it out and also made a "flower pot" out of construction paper. We then glued the hand to the edge of the pot so it looked like the hand was growing out of the pot.
We then made little flowers out of different colors of paper and glued them to the ends of the fingers. Now we had a pretty "plant" all decorated.
We wrote each child's name on the back, and the date, and year. On the front of the flower pot was this little poem:
I am like a little flower
That's raised with love by you.
You help me grow up
Big and strong.
Mom, thanks for all you do!
We also wrote: Happy Mother's Day on the lip of the pot.
Of course, Rebeca (1st grade) made her own flower and pot and did all the writing.
In the nursery, we did everything, but they did "color" their flowers. One of the littlest girls is so tiny, I had to make her pot and flowers smaller to match her tiny hand.
We had a good day in the nursery today. We sang songs, colored, learned about "nice" words, chased bubbles, read stories, and played with toys. Why would you want to go to another class?
For Mother's day, too, I received flowers from Matthew, chocolate and perfume from Fito, a beautiful hand painted plaque that says:
If life gets too hard to stand--
From Ary and Douglas. Ary also made a beautiful hand made card and sent me pictures of my grand baby, Celeste. Celeste also sent me a card she had colored.
Maria and Travis took my favorite picture of th family and put it in a really cute frame...one of those that has sayings all around it.
I received cards and calls from everyone. Elizabeth cooked lunch (with Fito's help) so I wouldn't have too. David did dishes and Felipe took all the trash out and checked on animals.
They let me take a long nap...it was the perfect day.
Monday, I deboned the turkey before I went to work, then when I came home I made 3 large and 4 small pans of enchiladas. I wasn't planning on making that many, but there was still turkey, so I would fry some more tortillas and make another pan.
It actually was a blessing to be able to make so many as there are several ladies at church that will have surgeries this month. I think, too, I will take a pan (and the large pan of lasagna that is in the freezer) with us in a cooler to New York. That will cover at least two meals while there.
Monday afternoon I found out that the lady we were going to stay with at West Point could no longer help us out. I then called another family that had offered to let us stay with them. They were now headed to North Carolina to help out there and would not be at home.
I again, got on the Internet and started a search for where to stay when I received a new phone call regarding my previous Craig's list ad.
This gentleman's 90 year-old mother lives near West Point. as it worked out, we are now going to stay in her home. We will pay, but it is very reasonable and will give us the room we need.
They have no idea what a blessing they have provided for us. I really had no idea where we were going to stay.
I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, as normal. Fito finished a Gazebo Bird Enclosure that he was making to have the Doves near the Master bedroom.
It came out incredible. I will have to post pics as it is hard to describe it. When we lived in Houston, the Doves were near our bedroom and I liked hearing their cooing in the morning and evening. He moved them for me. Isn't that just sweet and too romantic?
Now on Thursday, I went to an Asian Pacific Luncheon at Tinker AFB (Air Force Base). I do a training class there, and many of my students are from Vietnam and Taiwan. The lunch was great and they had dancers that performed Tahitian, hula, etc. all kind of dances, had a speaker, awards, and so forth.
I have been so impressed with Tinker. Our military does a great job.
Now on Wednesday afternoon, the Principle of the High School called and said that Felipe (10th grade) could not go with us to New York as he would have too many unexcused absences.
I wrote the following to appeal the decision:
Dr. Tammy Sagastizado
1300 Springlake Rd.
Newcastle, OK 73065
May 11, 2011
Re: Felipe J. Sagastizado, DOB -----
Dear Dr. ---- and Attendance Committee Members:
First of all, I understand the importance of a good education and therefore, realize the importance of good attendance. I express my regret for Felipe having missed so many days of school.
There are various reasons why he missed so many days this past year. First, he had more sick days. Our family usually enjoys excellent health, but this past year we seemed to pick up any bug that was floating around.
Second, I pulled him out in the fall to help me haul roof tiles. We have a contractor friend who replaced the roof on a large church in north OKC. We only had a few days to haul away the good tiles, before they would be thrown away. We worked from sun up to sun down and removed over $7000 worth of tile in a few days. This was something I could not do on my own and as Felipe has good grades and is smart enough to make up any missed days, I pulled him from school to help me.
Third; and this is where I made a mistake. I did not find out that West Point’s graduation was in May until late spring. This was poor planning on my part. I should have planned the year better and accounted for how many days Felipe could actually miss.
He could have attended school when he had illnesses that were not contagious, and I should have left him in school and have not brought home as much tile.
However, I hope that you will overlook my poor planning and still allow Felipe to attend his brother’s graduation for the following reasons:
Felipe is child number six out of 10. His older siblings have drive and passion. Tony is the oldest and will graduate from West Point on May 21. Douglas is married and is studying civil engineering at the University of Houston. Matthew is at OCCC and Benjamin, (a Newcastle Valedictorian) is at the University of Kansas as a math major, studying to be an actuary. Maria is married and plans to study music. David, Elizabeth, and Rebeca are Newcastle students.
The older boys were Valedictorians’, have their Eagles, and have always had a desire to succeed in all of their endeavors.
Felipe is intelligent and is a good student. He is respectful, does not create behavior problems, but lacks the desire to be in the top percentile.
I have planned this whole trip around Felipe. We are touring many historical sites and several military museums. Felipe’s two loves are the military and history. I am hoping that by witnessing first hand: the patriotism, the military tradition, the honor and history of one of America’s greatest institutions; Felipe will have a fire stirred in him, which will lead to more passion in what he does.
The week before graduation is Family and Alumni week. There are parades, military drills, pinning ceremonies, black-tie dinners, award ceremonies, and more. Leaders from the Pentagon, the Senate, the House, and more descend on West Point.
As an educator, I also understand the importance of maintaining policy. Therefore, if there is some way that Felipe could make up for the missed attendance through service or academic means, we would accept whatever means you chose.
Perhaps, he could work with the counselor or librarian as an aid during the summer to make up missed hours. He could even work as a grounds worker or custodian. Or perhaps take a class or two at OCCC. My husband and I are both teaching at OCCC’s College for Kids, which runs seven weeks. I could arrange for him to work as a counselor during that time.
We are willing to work with you to maintain your policy, but please ask you to allow Felipe this opportunity. We will also plan better in the future and work to keep the attendance policy as is written.
I hope you find all my reasons to be in order and will see fit to grant Felipe permission to attend Tony’s West Point graduation.
Thank you for all your efforts and for being educators. It is perhaps one of the most difficult vocations, but we honor and respect you for your work with building the future of America.
Dr. Tammy Sagastizado, PhD
Well the Principal left a voice mail on my phone while I was at work on Friday that the committee had turned down my appeal. If Felipe misses these last 2 weeks of school, they will not give him credit for the whole year.
Of course, I called the State Department of Education first to see what other appeals I have. None, except perhaps the local school board, and it depends on how their policy is written.
I did contact one member, and he contacted the superintendent who then spoke with the Principal. I guess tomorrow morning he will offer me some type of middle ground, but he wants us to stay 4 or 5 more days.
Tony's graduation is Saturday, the 21st and it take two days just to drive out there. Besides that, this whole week preceding graduation is important. We are arriving late as it is.
I also called a friend of mine that works in Adult Education and found out that they have a fast-track GED class starting the week we come back from New York.
If Felipe take that class this summer and passes the GED, he can receive Pell Grants and go on and attend OCCC (Oklahoma City Community College--where I work, too) in the fall, even though he is only 16.
What is amazing about this whole quagmire of a situation is that Felipe seems enthralled about the idea of just skipping High School and just moving on to college. I think he was bored with High School and that is why there wasn't any passion.
So it appears that perhaps this was a blessing in disguise?!?
He has already taken all of his State- mandated--end-of-year tests and out of a possible score of 60, he scored 56, 57, and so on on all of them. His teachers had already told him that since he scored so high on those tests he did not need to worry about being gone.
I do feel sorry for the schools, because actually it is the State that mandated the absurd attendance policies. They somehow thought they could mandate parents into making sure their children don't drop out and attend school.
The law hasn't changed a thing as parents who don't care --still don't care.
But the unintended consequences of the law has hurt good families and good students. Many students can't participate in as many extracurricular activities as they used to, simply because now they will have too many unexcused absences.
The teachers, too, are burdened now by unreasonable bureaucratic paperwork, phone calls, etc.,that they have to do now.
When are we going to wake up as a people and realize that you can not regulate or mandate behavior? And insist that the government leave us alone?
I will stop my rant now and let you know as events transpire what will become of this whole mess.