One thing I've always loved about The School is that we do one heckava AWESOME Veteran's Day program every year. Over the years, various teachers have organized the event and every year it's just wonderful. For many of us, it's one of the highlights of the year.
This fall The Principal put out the call that she needed someone to step up to the plate and volunteer to do the Veteran's Day program since the last person who had been in charge - and she did a fantastic job - had gotten married and moved to Atlanta.
And no one responded. Which is typical because, as Mrs. Eagle often says, it's always the same people who do everything.
After the second email, however, Mrs. Eagle and I were discussing at our Friday breakfast at Waffle House that we'd really hate to see our ceremony fade away because no one wanted to do it. As a 20 year Army Veteran, the ceremony had a special place for Mrs. Eagle. So, we volunteered but ONLY it no one person was in charge and we did it as a committee. We added in a few other folks to round out the committee, Wonder Aide (who helped on it the year before but no one ever knew), Mrs. Bulldog, a young adorable Army spouse and awesome SPED teacher, and Mrs. Parakeet who we added a few weeks later when we discovered, quite by accident, that she did the music at the beginning of the program. The Principal was delighted and deposited with us a Really Big Box and a binder of Veteran's Day Stuff.
We had a few meetings, did a lot of communicating via email, assigned tasks, and amazingly, it came together fairly well. I must add that Wonder Aide had some really GREAT ideas, like having the sixth grade wear red, the seventh wear white and the eighth wear blue, and it looked amazing! We had a few panics, and a few hitches (the lapel pins the student council bought for us to give to our 25 veteran faculty and staff arrived TWO HOURS after the program ended), but over all...it more or less went together.
And today was the day.
And it was amazing.
My friend, a local city councilman and veteran, did the talk and told me, truly, that he was more nervous talking to these kids than he'd ever been doing a political stump speech! (Middle Schoolers could be a tough crowd.) He did great. As a military dependent himself when he was a kid, he asked the kids in the audience to raise their hands if they had a mom or dad who was a veteran or active duty. He told me when he saw that sea of hands (and it was nearly the whole school), that it was like a kick in the gut and he almost had trouble continuing his talk. The kids, however, loved him.
What we loved was that the kids BEHAVED. They were just awesome, even though are rapidly outgrowing the gym and had trouble seating everyone. The sixth grade now takes up nearly one whole side of the gym.
We had wanted to make this a more kid-driven ceremony than in the past and it worked out. We had different kids doing the welcome, The Pledge of Allegiance (our Life Skills Classes did this), a song, and more. It went great.
And I'm so glad it's over, but so glad we did it.
Just wait. It will be even better next year.