A Thousand Stars

12 segundos de oscuridad Today I visited the Little Prince’s class again, both to see how they were getting along after the fire…and to read to them.

First, though…the ELEW’s Evil for Crestline Auction raised over $5000. (That’s not a typo.) I am slack-jawed with amazement, at Skyla and Dina for arranging and running the whole thing, at those who contributed time, effort, books and various other goodies to be auctioned off, and at those who bid and bought. Your graciousness, hard work, and amazingness has a cumulative impact on the lives of about 500 students, their teachers, and other staff who take care of them on a daily basis. I saw firsthand some of the initial results of your efforts, guys–books in a fourth-grade classroom, bookshelves, teaching aids, posters, donated supplies used by people who lost years of accumulated work and effort when the school burned down. YOU have made a huge difference the lives of 500 children, an effect that will ripple out through them and their teachers. You’ve been the very best kind of shiny bad guys. Thank you so much.

You might remember that right before the fire I visited the Little Prince’s class. I did write a story for them, since every time I picked up the Prince after school I was pestered with “Miss Lili! When are you going to write US a story?” and big shiny hopeful eyes. But I didn’t want it to be a regular story, so I hit upon the idea of a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure alien “book”. I would write the alien’s landing, and the ending, but in between there would be many blank pages for each kid to write in their version of what the alien looked like, why it had landed, what the problem with its ship was, and how they would solve it. I formatted it (Jesus, anyone who works in publishing production, I have so much respect for you) and got copies printed over at Kinko’s, spiral-bound so they could lay flat.

And today I went in and read it to them. They were amazed. “My favourite thing is the blank pages!” most of them said, “Where I can write my own bits! My alien’s going to be _____!”

I only had to hold back tears once, reading the dedication. (Can’t have a book without a dedication.) There may have been pictures taken of the event, and if there’s one that doesn’t make me look like a DERPing moron I’ll post it.

I would list the names of the kids in the class, just to put faces on the people you have helped. I can’t, because of privacy concerns, but I wish I could. Suffice to say I’ve known a great many of them since the Prince was in second grade, and seeing them grow with him is so exciting. I wish I could name names, tell you all about how you’ve helped the jug-eared kid who loves dinosaurs or the boy with attention problems who works so hard to stay still and learn some impulse control, the quiet little girl who likes drawing trees, the cat-eyed girl who every time she sees me gives a huge grin and announces “I don’t know you!” so I can give the follow-up line, “But I’ll still tell you to sit down!” (Long story, she was in my group during a field trip.) Every day when I pick up the Little Prince, I see those shining faces, and I am reminded of so many things–including, now, awe and amazement at seeing so many people pull together in the face of a disaster.

Even if that wasn’t enough to make my black little heart grow a few sizes, I only have to look at my baby, the Little Prince. His classroom has school supplies, new books, and too many other things to count, directly because of people like Skyla and Dina and Danielle K. and those I can’t list because this post would grow to gargantuan proportions. People in the community who volunteered to organize supplies and helped with childcare arrangements, who went to work and organized fundraising drives, who donated auction items or bid on them, people who dealt with overwhelmed and tangled bureaucracy to get things done

Thank you. You have directly, materially helped not just my child, but all his classmates. The ripples of all these small (and large) kindnesses will echo for a long time to come. Thank you so much.

In the words of the late and much-missed Leslie Banks, “a thousand stars in your crown.”

A thousand indeed. Thank you.

photo by: Libertinus
  • Andrew Jack (@ajackwriting)

    Well said.

  • Nina

    You are very welcome!

  • What a wonderful story. I couldn’t contribute in any way to the auction (beyond putting a banner on my site), but I’m so happy to hear that it was a resounding success.

  • Aimee

    What an awesome idea to give the kids the chose-your-own-adventure story! A special memory for them in the midst of an ugly one!