We had our Fall Festival this past Friday. The Knitting Club was selling cookies and knitted necklaces and bracelets so Mrs. Eagle and I spent most of the time just supervising. We actually had more helpers than we needed so that was nice.
What was nicer is that the High School sends over a bunch of the JROTC kids to help run a lot of the carnival-type booths like the ring toss. We always enjoy this because we get to see how some of our kids have grown up.
What's amazing is HOW MUCH they grow up.
I had a young man come up to me in his JROTC t-shirt and give me a big hug.
"Do you remember me?" he asked.
Oh. How. Could. I. Forget. This kid was a TERROR. He was non-academically promoted because he did nothing. He also was a constant disruption in class and I think he made our Mrs. Reading at the time cry at least once a week. His best friend and him were the Terror Twins and just about made us all crazy. He was so awful that I ended up suspending him for something stupid the last week of the year when I was doing "filling in for the principal" duty. And the worst bit was that he was smart as a whip. You knew if he could behave and do his work that he'd be fine.
"Of course I do," I told him. "You were awful!"
He laughed and his friend, another former student (but not the terror he ran with in 7th grade) laughed as well.
"Yeah, I had a 150 discipline points when you had me. I was awful."
"You were a jerk," his friend said.
"So, what's life like now?" I asked them both.
"Well," said the Former Terror. "I haven't had a discipline point since I got to High School, I'm in JROTC, and I have a 3.7 gpa."
Oh. My. Goodness.
"Are you serious?" I asked him. "You failed 7th grade!"
"Yeah, but I got over it. Dumped the other Terror Twin when he got involved in drugs, and got into JROTC. But man, I owe all of you an apology. I was awful."
"JROTC saved us both," said his friend. "We're both doing really well in school. And we were both awful, so I'm sorry."
There is hope. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.