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Posts Tagged ‘Student of the Year’

I am so proud to be the teacher of the Louisiana Regional Student of the Year. I am privileged to teach gifted students. This means that once a student is identified as gifted, I pull them out for services each year throughout elementary school. I have had Kaylie in my class now for 2 1/2 years. We have gotten very close. On Tuesday, she found out she had won the Regional Student of the Year. First she was nominated by her school, then she competed at the parish level, then the regional level. Now she will be in competition for the State Student of the Year. This is a pretty amazing accomplishment for an 11 year old girl. She is amazing, though.

On Wednesday, Kaylie came early to class. We sat quietly absorbing the news. She told me she gets two free nights’ stay in Baton Rouge and a savings bond. She looked at me and gently said, “It’s because of you that I got this.”

I gave her a hug and said, “I don’t believe that for one minute.” But she went on to explain. She said she was not a writer when she came to my classroom. I made her a writer. That statement has been my lifelong goal.

Once at a turning point in my teaching career, my husband asked me point blank, “What do you want to do?”
I responded, “I want to teach writing. One day I want to hear an author on NPR thank me.”

Kaylie isn’t on NPR…yet. But this moment made my heart swell. I opened the door. She has stepped in royally. Writing is a major component of the Student of the Year competition. At each level, she has to write an essay on a prompt in a given amount of time. Obviously, she does not give in to the pressure. What a gifted writer she is!

Kaylie has won a number of writing contests. The most memorable for me was the LA Writes! state youth writing contest. She won first place with a poem she wrote in my class. We were celebrating National Poetry Month and the daily challenge was to write a bad poem. I used Billy Collins’ poem Litany as inspiration. Kaylie went to the computer and composed this brilliant first place poem:

Perfect Nonsense

*after Billy Collins’ Litany

You can be the watering pail in the pine tree.

You can be the left shoe on the roof.

You can even be-somehow-just-maybe the buttered slice of burnt toast on a Sunday morning.

You are NOT the billowing clouds.

You are DEFINITELY NOT the sandy aftertaste when a wave knocks you down.

And you are most DEFINITELY CERTAINLY ABSOLUTELY TRULY NOT the pancake swimming in syrup on the hottest day of the year.

Whereas I, I am the dandelion that gently blows away.

I am your mamma’s ruby red lipstick for dinner at her best friend’s house on Thursday night.

And, as you know, I am the spit-on microphone that sits lazily in the studio.

I am me.

You are you.

We are US.


A link to Kaylie’s Slices of Life.

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