Did you know that 5th graders have graduations from Elementary School into Middle School? I don't remember having a big graduation ceremony for kindergarten or elementary school or even middle school. Though I do like to brag that my high school graduation was at Red Rocks...
Why do I know about 5th grade graduation? For the last two years, I've spent an hour per week volunteering at a public school in Denver. The teacher of the class is a good friend of mine. I started tutoring the kids in math when they were in 4th grade, helped run a reading club last summer and went back to math tutoring this school year.
Most of the kids are Mexican and some are recent immigrants who don't speak English well. Some of them are bilingual and translate for their parents who don't speak English well (or at all). After two years, they still don't remember that I can understand them when they speak their secret language (Spanish). I always loved responding to them in Spanish when they didn't think I understood what they said.
Going in to see them was often the highlight of my week. Whenever I enter the classroom, they eagerly greet me. When their teacher says he's going to send a group back to work with me, they all raise their hands wanting to be included in my group.
The kids are awesome and it's been so exciting to see their progress over the last two years. They've gone from apathetic to interested, behind to caught up (even ahead!), discouraged about learning to excited about what they can accomplish. They're taller, more mature and don't seem much like kids anymore. I'll definitely miss seeing them every week when they move on to different middle schools.
I thought about getting them gifts to celebrate, but what do you buy for 27 5th graders that's affordable and useful? Instead of buying something, I decided to design a card with my newly acquired Adobe Illustrator skills (I'm still a beginner...) The card I made is below...next step is to write 27 notes to the kids!