As I glanced up at the clock towards the end of lunch I remembered that the email I had received earlier that morning had said that the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards would be announced at noon. I had received a few emails about the announcement, as I had 6 students who received awards during the regional round.
As the clock flipped from 12:00 to 12:01 I decided to log in. I did not expect any of my students to win (even though their pieces were all amazing) because the odds were just so slim. I mean, over 250,000 students enter the contest each year!
I was only half paying attention when I logged in to the website and saw this:
I had to read it twice before scrolling down to see the student’s name. What?!
“Ahhh!” I screeched, throwing back my chair. I was sitting in the faculty room, so immediately my co-teacher asked me if I was all right.
“Eileen won! She won a gold medal!” I’m not sure my poor co-teacher even knew what I was talking about but she knew it was awesome.
“I have to find Eileen!” Thus began my trek around our (thankfully) small school. First I popped into IED. Nope, no Eileen. Next I checked the Spanish room, because I thought the freshmen might be in language class. Ok, no luck. Maybe French? That meant trekking to the basement. When I got downstairs the French room door was closed and when I knocked there was a lot of giggling behind the closed door. It opened a crack and when the student saw it was me I was quickly invited in. It turned out Eileen was not there, but the French class was enjoying an ice cream party!
“Where’s Eileen? Do you guys know what class she has?” I asked as I looked over the table to sundae toppings. A student told me that Eileen was across campus at gym class so I had to put my search on hold. But I did enjoy a bowl of ice cream while waiting for class to end.
Our period ended at 1:09pm and by 1:04 I was at the front door waiting for Eileen to get back from gym class. I didn’t know if she had heard the good news but I wanted to give her a congratulatory hug because I was so proud of her.
Slowly the kids started trickling back from gym. One group, two groups, three groups….where was Eileen? Had I missed her somehow? For a moment I doubted myself and took a lap down the freshman hallway. When I didn’t see her I asked a classmate who said she was at the end of the gym class group. I hurried back to the front door in time to see Eileen arrive back at school.
She was probably a little freaked out to see me standing at the door and pointing to her. But then I pointed to my computer screen, pointed at her, and saw her slowly make the connection.
“Oh my gosh. No. No way! Is it Scholastic?” she asked me breathlessly.
“YES!” I practically shouted as I hugged her. “You won a gold medal! A national gold medal!”
Eileen was grinning from ear to ear at this point. Her friends hugged her, I hugged her again, and then she had to hurry to class.
“Log on!” I told her. “Check it out for yourself! I am so proud of you!”
Needless to say, it was a pretty epic day. I am incredibly proud of Eileen, who is a gifted writer. I am so glad the contest judges agreed with me!