December 12, 2009
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I am proud. Not because I saved a kitten from a tree. Not because I donated millions to a cancer foundation. Not because I helped an elderly woman cross a busy intersection but because I connected with about thirty 5 year olds, that get their education at Marysville K-8 School, which is located In the lovely Portland district. The school is on one main level and the long, wide halls seem to stretch on forever. Student artwork or student made murals almost always hides the tall, off-white walls. I was also being taught there and I wanted to meet some of the younger students.

"Why would you want to spend your free time with a bunch of sniveling sticky kids?" one of my fellow classmates asked.

"Why not?" I countered.

Every Friday we had "enrichment" which is our schools elective. I chose kid care, which meant that I would go every Friday to one of the three kinder garden class rooms, pick up 4-5 kids and head down to the "Discovery Zone". The Discovery Zone was once the girl’s gym. But had been made into a hands on learning center. There was a lot to play with it had legos, blocks, moon shoes and much, much more. Every trimester you would switch and pick a new one. I went not expecting anything. Well nothing fun anyway. There were about 12 of us, plus two teachers. We sat around a few tables and discussed how we would handle certain situations. During the first couple weeks we didn't do much more than talk. We talked and took notes, then talked and took notes, and then we talked and took notes. I was sure that this class wasn't ever going to get better.

“This was a bad choice,” Anne and I agreed, one hot afternoon.

Then we went to go pick up kids. I was surprised I thought we would be talking and taking notes. But we went to one of the three kinder garden classrooms.

“Oh we have to get Johnson!” Anne yelled.

“Not so loud,” an older teacher scolded.

“ Sorry,” we all mumbled.

“We got Ms.Johnson!” Anne yelled even louder.

We walked down the hall slowly peering into the class. We knew we were going to disrupt the class; we just didn’t want to really disrupt it.

"We are here from the kid care class. We are going to come pick up a few of you and play for an hour. Its gonna happen every week. On a Friday." We said as a group.

At first they were wary. Not one sticky little hand shot up to come join. They didn't eat much of their snacks and they didn't really want to play anything with us. About 2 weeks in, after the first couple of kids started coming back with full tummies, huge smiles, and a great adventure story they wanted to experience that for themselves. We would walk in and would be swiftly ambushed with packets of crayons, hugs, and paper flowers. Everyone wanted to come play with Anne and Moe.

I enjoyed almost every minute of it. Every trimester I put a little check mark in The "Kid Care" section. The year was soon coming to a close. I didn't want kid care to come to an end as well. The summer passed and the chilled winds that brought fall back was soon twirling the reddened leaves. School began again and I soon had Ms. Johnson asking if I could come in on Fridays during "choosing time". I had to figure out if I could do that. I would skip math class every Friday to go be a teacher’s assistant to Ms.Johnson. My math teacher agreed to let me go. So I began going to her first grade class. Last year she was a kinder garden teacher and she had advanced with most of the same students. Most of the kids remembered me. And soon I was playing charades, dominoes, dollhouse, painting, coloring and sometimes I would read to the whole class. The weeks following most of the kids came running to hug me in the halls. I was given drawings and paper tiaras. Every time I would casually pass the classroom nearly the whole class stood up and exclaimed "Moe!"

Then once again the school year was ending. This time I was moving buildings. High school. I would not see those kids very much, if even at all. But when I go say a brief hello to my former teachers I still get a few kids running with their sticky fingers to greet me.

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