Friday, May 13, 2022

Culmination Conundrum

The students at the adult transition center are ages 18 to 22. At age 22, they "age out". 

As the end of the school year approaches, we get ready for their "graduation" which at this school is called culmination. There's a ceremony for those who will not be returning next school year. 

I don't generally get to participate in these sorts of things. I'm usually just there to fill in. But I will be covering this class until the last day of school, so that means I'll be on campus on the day of culmination. 

And one of the students in the class is finishing up this year. 

Last week I was informed that it would be my job to "say a few words" about Elena at culmination.

Crap. 

Usually I can dodge these types of events, but not in this case. So, now I have to figure out what words I want to say. And I have absolutely no idea.

I mean, I'm a writer. I can come up with something, right? 

Deep sigh.

Elena is... Well, she's not what one would call sweet. She's not allowed to use a fork at lunchtime because she will stab people who pass by her. She will get out of her seat to go and hit another student, kind of out of nowhere. (We have no idea why she attacked Jennifer or Yohana, because neither of them bother Elena. Ever.) 

When Elena has decided she's done doing her work for the day, she'll go and get her computer without permission, and I have to be sneaky to get it back from her. (She does get computer time, but later in the day.) 

She has a one-to-one aide, Vera, who keeps a close eye on her. Vera is strict. Most of Elena's acting out happens when Vera is on her lunch. Elena will try things when Vera is there, but Vera puts a stop to it quickly. 

I suppose I should ask Vera what to say. But I have a feeling she'll have some of the same concerns as me. 

I mean, I could say Elena is headstrong. Determined. She knows what she wants and she'll do what she can to get it. But is that the sort of thing I want to say at the sort of ceremony we'll be having? 

Wish me luck. I have no idea how I'm going to manage this. Is it too early to anticipate being "sick" that day? (Although, the ceremony is virtual, so they might make me attend anyway.) 

24 comments:

  1. Seems like you have had even a bigger challenge this yr then in the last couple, only in a different way. Sounds like you had your hands full.

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  2. Oof! Picking out the positive and giving it a spin is tough work. I wish you a great amount of luck!

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  3. I was going to say the same thing you have written here. You can't say you gave a forked tongue...she may stab you

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    1. Ah, to work in the fork thing... I think that would be beyond my capabilities, alas.

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  4. I am sure you will come up with something, but you probably need to work on it a bit more :).

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    1. I don't hold out much hope for my abilities here. I haven't completely discounted the sick idea.

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  5. I’m sure you’ll come up with something appropriate

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  6. Well, it sounds like you're already coming up with something to say in the last few paragraphs, so I think you'll do okay. And you can definitely ask Vera for input.

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  7. Well, if you don't call in sick, how about "Today we celebrate the end of an era, Elena's school odyssey. She has reached her destination but we must go on. She will go one way and we another. It won't be the same without her here and we all know it. We wish you well, Elena as you walk your own path." Ok, that's it from me.

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    1. I love that. I hope you don't mind if I do, in fact, use it. It's perfect. Thank you.

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  8. This is tough! Checking with Vera is indeed one option. You might get some ideas.
    Since you do know Elena I am sure you will be able to come up with at least a couple of points that sound good for the occasion.
    And you don't have to speak for too long. A short speech should do; and I am confident you'll be able to do it.
    Good luck :-)

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  9. I have no good answer. In your shoes I would ask Vera for some suggestions. I agree a short speech would be best.

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    1. I have 30 seconds, tops, so it will be short.

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  10. Hmm... Would you feel comfortable saying something about how she completed her education and that you wish her a happy and bright future?

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    1. Yeah, something along those lines might work. Although "completed her education" might not work in this case. Thanks.

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  11. She does sound like quite a character! But it's certainly someone that will be memorable for you, so you could find some things to say there :)

    Hope you are having a good weekend. It's another rainy day here!

    Away From The Blue

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    1. The whole class will be memorable. But I don't think I'd want to "say a few words" about them in public, either.

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  12. That does sound like quite a challenge. I don't envy you coming up with something that's appropriate for the occasion. Has she done something funny that you could share a story/memory? Good luck to you and let us know how you resolve this dilemma.

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    1. Oh sure, but most of those stories could come out horrifying if not deftly handled. I don't think I have the speaking skills to deftly handle it.

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  13. I agree with bookworm - I would ask Vera for some suggestions.

    Hope you find a solution to your conundrum.

    Happy Monday, Liz!

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