Monday, January 10, 2011

Public School for the Girls (and Tidbits on East Texas Football Culture)

As you can tell, Kylie was real sure of herself, and our decision to put the girls into public school for our month here in Texas. Why, you might ask? Well, basically we were advised by many people here at Mercy Ships who have seen families come and go through the Gateway program. Most families have put their children into the local school district and have been very warmly received and loved on during their time. So, Monday was the FIRST day we were waiting for.

Then weather rolled in on Sunday and the rain changed to sleet which changed to snow. So we checked the website and found out that school was two hours delayed. Supposedly most students come from rural areas and ride the school bus which is a 1 or 1.5 hour trip each way. Since it is Texas and they aren't equipped with snow plows and machines to salt or sand the roads, they wanted to make sure everyone was safe.

So, at 9:50am Kylie had to report to her new school:

No, we don't REALLY have a middle schooler, but in the school district of Van (town of 2400, school district of 2500), they have so many children, they have split up the schools into several: Pre-K through 1st on one campus, 2nd-3rd on another, and 4th-6th on yet another. This is the one they deem the Middle School.

Kylie went in with a smile on her face, and didn't even want Dan to walk her to her new classroom- she went willingly with her counselor, Mrs. Hutchins.

After her first day, the report was that it was "good, but frustrating." She had a moment where her teacher was correcting papers outloud, and Kylie fell behind. So, either Kylie needs to pick up her game, or the accent plays a part in the processing. She also was worried about remembering to say, "Yes, Ma'am" or "No, Ma'am," but that did not seem to be an issue, on the first day anyway.

Another mile down the road is the "Elementary" campus where Savannah is set to attend. Unfortunately, her teacher was out for the first day at a workshop, but had left a note for her welcoming her to the class and apologizing for missing Savannah's first day. I think she'll have a wonderful time in this class. Two girls were very helpful and made her feel welcome, and they got to play basketball in the gym, so she was thrilled with that, too!

While being introduced to the school on Friday, our new friends The Holmes' were telling us bits and pieces about the community and the schools. I found this part about football fascinating, so I wanted to share it with you:


So, I was told that in Van, the football players don't have to go to school on game days (so they can mentally prepare for the game). Also, each class in the early elementary school has "adopted" a player, and that player comes into the classroom and talks with the class about football (and life, I suppose). That way, each student feels integral in the game and desires to attend the game and see how "his/her" player performs.

When our little friend Katie was in kindergarten, her teacher's son was on the football team, and he became their "pet" player. When he was out with an injury, many kindergarteners were in tears. And so begins the legacy of the love of Texas football.

While we were here this fall, the first news to greet you on the Tyler paper was the high school football score and review from the night before:

(I guess this shows a bit of the faith I had that we'd be coming back here, and blogging about it, since I took this picture for that very purpose!)

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