Susan WonderStone's Blog

June 17, 2008, 9:13 am
Filed under: Inspiration

Persistence was the title of the speech given by a wonderful 5th grader named Katie, at the 5th grade graduation on Friday.  She talked about how much trouble she had when her mom was trying to teach her to read, back when she was 3 years old.  She didn’t think she could do it but her mom kept working with her.  She talked about telling her piano teacher she didn’t think she could play the piano.  It was so hard because all the keys looked the same.  I may not be remembering clearly, because I was thinking about something else while she was speaking.  She set a goal at the beginning of the year to achieve 1,000 AR points.  AR (Aaccelerated Reader) points are given when a test is taken and a score of at least 80% is made after reading a book.  Books have different points, depending on length and complexity.  Passing the test shows that not only was the book read, but comprehended.  Most kids set their goals between 50 and 200.  Nobody in the school’s history has ever achieved 1,000 AR points.  By this point in her speech, I was crying.  Not just tears, but all out crying.  I was trying to be quiet, but still thought I was going to have to leave the auditorium.  One of the PE teachers saw me and brought me a stack of tissues.  Other people were smiling and I’m sure inspired by her lofty goal.  She wrote her speech earlier in the week and still had more points to earn.  Probably more than some kids earned from the whole year.  After her speech, the principal came up and announced that Katie had indeed met her goal!  They were having a plaque made for her, stating her achievement, and named the 1,000 point mark the “Katie Award”.  Everyone seemed so proud of her, including me!  I was still crying.  I don’t know who all knew, but Katie’s mom died at the beginning of the school year from breast cancer.  I’m so inspired by Katie, seeing how she focused her attention on something constructive at such an obviously traumatic time.  I kept thinking about how it could have been me.  I’m so grateful to still be alive.  The cancer has been an incredible learning experience for me.  I’m sad for Katie, but so proud of her for her accomplishment.  Thank you Katie for being such an inspiration for so many people!

Love, gratitude and blessings

Susan (Cameron’s mom)