It has been almost a year without our beloved Mrs. Hwang. I just reread my post about her from a year ago. You can read it here. Now, a year later, I am thankful that I wrote it. Sometimes with time, you forget the small details. I had forgotten that Molly had read to Mrs. Hwang that LAST day of school before Thanksgiving. I had forgotten that she had come running up to me to show me her "I Read to the Principal" button and told me that Mrs. Hwang let her choose from the fourth and fifth grade pile. There are so many memories of her being principal to my four children and so many emotions of her tragic loss, that I had forgotten these small details.
But yesterday was about remembering and CELEBRATING the life of Mrs. Hwang. I only had the boys this weekend because Chris had the girls in Richmond at a soccer tournament. We woke up early, and walked to Sanders Corner for the Making a Difference 5K Memorial Race for Mrs. Hwang. It was a gray, misty day but it wasn't raining and it wasn't too cold. My boys were excited for this. They love their sleep, but getting up and running for Mrs. Hwang was different. Timmy had never ran a 5K. It was his first. Ryan was part of the running club at Sanders and had run in one last year. I went with camera in hand to document, I want to remember and not forget.
It was still at least 45 minutes before the race and so many people at Sanders.
Friends met up with one another.
And the memorial, this wonderful, beautiful memorial that will be here for all to see every time they walk into Sanders Corner. I love the starfish story. It has always been one of my favorites and then to hear that this was a story that Mrs. Hwang would share with her staff at the beginning of the year to inspire teachers to make a difference with as many students as they could, uhhh, it just made me miss her more. But now, a year has gone by, and everyone, not just her staff knows the starfish story, it is her legacy. The story has come up in conversations at the dinner table, in the car, or sitting on the sidelines of a soccer game. Making a Difference…we don't need to save the world, but we can change or save someone in our own little part of it. If we ALL did this, made our little corner of the world a better place, then we ALL would make a difference, then ALL the starfish would end up back in the sea.
So even though, she is still greatly missed, even though she was taken way too soon, she will always live in our hearts, if we try to make a difference.
I think the starfish is just perfect since the Sanders Corner mascot is a dolphin, I just made this connection…both animals from the sea.
Third Grade Team
Mrs. Hwang's daughter and grandson, READY.SET.GO!
First Runner across the finish line.
And there's my Timmy, #20 overall male out of over a 1000 runners, not bad for a first timer!
And here comes Ryry!
Ryry #42, just about a minute behind Timmy. Fantastic!
So many people gathered together for the same cause!
And since it's Monday and I try to post about reading on Mondays…well, the money raised by the race is going to sponsor the "I Read to the Principal" program that Mrs. Hwang started at Sanders Corner at another school in Loudoun County, Rolling Ridge. Her legacy will live on every time a student reads to his or her principal. Even though, Molly read to Mrs. Hwang on that last day of school before Thanksgiving break, her program lives on.
Some other sad news as it pertains to reading, I read last night that Barabara Park died, the author of all the Junie B. Jones books. I have seventeen Junie B. Jones books in my basement on the book shelf. I know because I counted. Both my girls read some of her books, but my real attachment to them was when these books were in my second grade classroom. I remember when I was a kid and going to the school library in third grade for the first time that school year. The librarian told us that we were no longer allowed to get picture books. We were "big kids" now and we had to get chapter books. This devastated me. I loved my picture books. I wasn't a great reader and was overwhelmed by the chapter books. At the end of second grade, we were still allowed to take out Dr. Seuss and now I had to check out books like Charlotte's Web. So I would fake read. I would always trying to read the books, but about half way through them, I would get embarrassed that I would be taking out the same book week after week and so I would pretend that I had finished it and take out another book that I more than likely didn't finish either.
Fast forward many years and to my second grade classroom. In second grade, you have a wide array of readers. I had a few readers that were way beyond the second grade level and were reading chapter books that I never would have attempted at their age. But then, I had also had those readers that were still reading their picture books, and that was okay. But eventually, I wanted them transitioning to chapter books. Having my own childhood experience with this, I tried to make this an easy transition. I filled my classroom library with all those "first" chapter books that are meant to help with this, they are not too long, the chapters, as well, are not too long, and the vocabulary is just the right level, all of the things that I needed as a reader when I was transitioning to chapter books. And that is were Junie B. Jones comes in. Junie B. Jones was that series that flew off the shelves in my classroom. So many little girls would have those books sitting on the corner of their desk with a book mark sticking out to hold their place. Junie B. Jones helped so many girls in my classroom move from the picture books to the chapter books. So thank you Barbara Park for building that bridge from picture books to chapter books that helped so many children to hold on to the love of reading and not lose it because they weren't ready for that 300 page chapter book.
Hmmm, even though we already donated books, maybe I'll go out today and buy a few Junie B. Jones books and donate them to the "Read to the Principal" program in honor of Mrs. Hwang and Barbara Park.
The Molly and Mommy Mega Mania Miraculous Magical Read Aloud Streak: Day 50!!! Half way to 100 days!!!
Inspired by the book The Reading Promise, the last book Mrs. Hwang and I talked about together.
This is how we kept the steak alive while Molly went to Richmond to cheer on her sister, I went out to the car in between Timmy's basketball games and Molly listened while in between soccer games at the hotel.