"Congratulations! You're child had been selected by his/her teacher to receive a STAR STUDENT AWARD for January, 2010."
MY CHILD! And just for the record THEY capitalized "STAR STUDENT AWARD". I did not add that part.
I was so proud of my little Sonya STAR STUDENT that I teared up for a minute. The letter instructed us not to tell our child, because it was a surprise and the award would be handed out at an assembly the following Friday at 10:45 am. This was just for the Kindergarten class award ceremony. Thank goodness, because I was pretty sure my other two were not going to sit to see the whole school receive awards.
I showed the letter to Andy who didn't tear up like I did, but was impressed nonetheless. Sonya was to get an award in one of four categories, but they didn't tell us which one. This was like the Oscars! Was she going to be able to give a speech? Just how heavy would that award be?? Would Hannah Montana be there hosting? I was so excited for Friday to come. I think the part about her not knowing was what excited me most.
Friday morning, I reminded Andy not to slip up and tell Sonya he'd see her later as he dropped her off at school. He had taken the morning off of work to come to the assembly. We all got ready and I took Georgia to gymnastics. When I got back we headed over to school. We got there on time before the kids started filing into their seats. The first couple classes came in and they were looking around. Some of the kids noticed their parents and waved. Then we saw Sonya's class and she was about halfway in the line of kids. We eventually caught her eye and she was excited to see us, smiled, waved and went to sit with her friends. She didn't even seem to question why we were there. Then one of the teachers got up and started talking about why we were there and how each class had some exceptional students. She explained what awards they would be receiving and the the fun freebies to go along with. Like a certificate indicating their award, a necklace, a pencil and my personal favorite, a kids eat free coupon to Hometown Buffet! Now for those of you who don't know what Hometown Buffet is, let's just say buffet is in the title, so does more need to be said? There is no other place outside of Vegas I would want to go to a buffet, with the exception of a wedding, but that's different. Still, it was part of the award, so maybe I'll suck it up and go to lunch there one day.
After she told us all of this, she started calling the students receiving the awards by class. Sonya's was the first class to be recognized, and her name was the second to be called. To say she was surprised would be an understatement. When the teacher called out Sonya's name, she jumped up from her seat with an audible GASP, with her mouth wide open, and her hands covering it, reminiscent of every Miss America winner I've seen. I once again, teared up. She climbed over her classmates to get to the aisle and walk up to the stage. The teacher handed her the award, and she took her place on the bleachers next to the little boy in her class. She held her certificate and beamed proudly looking over at us, as we proudly beamed back at her. It was one of those moments as a parent when you think, "Damn, I AM doing SOMETHING right!"
For me, the best part was what she got the award for. We know she's a smart kid and she could have gotten it for one of the other awards, like "Outstanding Achievement" or "Enormous Effort", and it wouldn't have been surprising. Instead she won the award for, "Positive Peace Builder". It means exactly the way it sounds. She's the kid who tries to help the other kids out. She's the one being nice to everyone, even if they aren't the smartest or the prettiest. She's the one trying to help others out of fights and other such situations. Now that's not to say she doesn't have her share of not being the kindest all the time, I'm sure. Trust me, she's not so into the Peace Building at home with her sisters. However, the fact that she's like that with her classmates at school, show what a great heart she has. I am so happy and proud to be raising a daughter that has such a capacity for kindness and, well, peace. Lord knows we need more of those kind of people in the world.
After the ceremony, we waited the ten minutes outside until her class let out. I had planned to take her to In-N-Out for cheeseburgers and french fries to celebrate. It's her favorite food and place to eat of all time. When she got out, Andy and I talked about about how proud we were of her and she told us how surprised she was. She proved how much she deserves the award when we asked her about her friends and what they thought. She said,
"Well, Lourdes was a little upset she didn't get an award and get to go up there too. I told her, don't worry Lourdes, next time you and Gwen will get an award and I'll be sitting with the other kids cheering for you. "
Like I said, we must be doing SOMETHING right.