Wednesday, November 18, 2009

pomp and (unfortunate) circumstance

As I drove to work on Monday, I thought about the noontime festivities that would await. Another graduation was going to take place, which meant 1)there'd be a house-wide gathering in which I, as well as the other teachers, would be expected to speak about the graduate-to-be; 2)one of the "old timers" (a kid who's been there a looooong time and was a wee tad older than the rest of the crowd) was finally gonna fly the coop; and 3) it didn't matter that I forgot my lunch, because with graduation comes a feast. Mmmm...I hadn't had much breakfast I guess, which is why I kind of meditated/obsessed on that last thought. The line staff at G House are excellent cooks, and they have a knack for using spices in a way that makes me salivate every time I hear the word "graduation."

So I was psyched for this day as I bounded up the front steps, bookbag on one shoulder, laptop case on the other. I punched in the code to unlock the front door, but it opened before I hit the last digit.

"Good morning, Miss," I heard a male voice say with a certain sort of intention. I peered around the corner into the office where the voice came from.

"Good morning?" It was a question, not a statement.

"Just to let you know, we will not be holding graduation today. Mr. Lopes was arrested over the weekend during his home pass for driving a stolen car without a license. He has gone back to lockup."

I see. So much for all the text-to-self connections we made to real life situations from our reading of realistic fiction. So much for comprehension strategies, for all of the work that the clinicians and line staff did with this young man. We all create our own learning curves, it's true. I had just hoped that this boy would have realized that the city in which he lives is crawling with cops, just waiting for him and other kids like him to screw up.

Cops 1, Young Mr. Lopes 0.

Today Mr. Lopes returned to G House for what I hear is another week and a half's worth of "hard time" before giving graduation another college try. November 30 is his next shot. Stay tuned...

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