Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Failed Launch

There was a special assembly at Confederacy Elementary School last Tuesday. A speaker from the Ministry of Education and Employment spoke to the children about overcoming obstacles. He told them to dream big, set goals and achieve. “The world is yours,” he repeated over and over throughout his speech.

The children seemed captivated by the message. Even the students from the antisocial left paid attention. The teachers heard it all before. Some slept, others graded papers while others sat watching their students hoping to catch some form of misbehaviour. With a fisherman's patience they watched their students, knowing one of them would crack under the pressure of trying to be good for thirty minutes. When they did.......... Gotcha - the unlucky child lost a recess and wrote 100 words out of the dictionary.

At the end of the speech the children wrote their dreams for their future on a pieces of small paper and put them into balloons. Three teenage boys from Saint Bartholomew’s School stood in the back of the gym filling the balloons with helium in preparation for ‘lift off’. The teenagers were completing the last of their public service hours for getting caught smoking in the school’s parking lot.

With balloons in hand the students walked outside and released them one class at a time. Mrs. Pennypacker’s Special Education Class was the last to launch. The students stood up and waited while the rest of the school counted down. At zero the children released their dreams into the sky.

A sudden wind redirected the balloons right into a neighboring tree. The three teenage boys broke into laughter - resulting in another two hours of public service each. The shocked Mrs. Pennypacker quickly gathered her 7 students and rushed them into the school. The Ministry official followed trying to think of something he could say to turn what happened into a positive. The rest of the students went to recess.

For the rest of the week Mrs. Pennypacker’s Special Education student’s balloons remained lodged in the tree. At the request of the Head Master, The Fire Department sent a truck to take them down. Mrs. Pennypacker did not like the assembly and refuses to allow balloons in her classroom ever again.

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