Monday, April 6, 2009
He did it!
The phone didn't ring by 3:00, and I knew Brody was out of school at 2:30. I tried to call him, but there was no answer. I tried Gayle's cell phone, no answer. The suspense was killing me. Just a few moments later, the phone rang.
"Grandma, I missed it by one word."
Grandma groans. "Oh, Brody, I'm so sorry."
"Just kiddin'. I did it." I could see his impish grin.
Relief! We had spent the past two days, and an hour before school this morning working on the last part of this project.
I'm just so doggone proud of my grandson, I could pop a button.
Today in school, Brody recited the Gettysburg Address and an abbreviated portion of the Declaration of Independence as the final two items to pass off to earn The Great American Challenge from his teacher. Today was the last opportunity he would have. It was do or die.
Before the school year even began last summer, Brody's teacher visited him and each of the rest of her students to get to know them and to present them with the first item of this challenge: before the first day of school, she expected them to memorize all 50 states and their capitals, correctly spelled, in alphabetical order, and be able to locate them on a map. On our road trip to Michigan, we drilled and drilled, and by the time we got home a few weeks later, he was well on the way to knowing them.
The first week of school, his teacher presented the class with the rest of the Challenge. They would have until April 15 to memorize the additional six items and recite to the class:
1) Star Spangled Banner
2) Preamble to the Constitution
3) all 44 Presidents, in order
4) Pledge of Allegiance (written, with 100% spelling and punctuation)
5) Gettysburg Address (up to 8 assists)
6) An abbreviated version of the Declaration of Independence (up to 8 assists)
Brody mentioned to me this morning that Ms. Louw had told the class that only two or three students each year meet the challenge. He only knew of one other classmate that was close, a boy who had already tried twice to pass off the presidents as his last challenge, and today would be his third and last attempt. (Yes, he finally did it too!)
Brody had passed off all but these last two items, and then last week realized with spring break, he would have to memorize and recite them both today, since Monday was the only day their class took time for this project. Between a heavy homework load, and a demanding soccer schedule, Saturday was the first opportunity he had to buckle down to study them. I offered to help. He gratefully accepted. He spent hours reading, reciting, re-reading, and writing. I bribed him with chocolate chip cookies that I promised would nourish his overworked brain. We laughed together. He teased me. I told him more than he wanted to know about the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration. He listened patiently with glassy eyes while other things were probably rolling around in his mind. But he listened. And he worked so hard.
And today, he did it.
Congratulations, Brody! You're my Great American Grandson.