Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I’m a Proud Pappy this morning!

My wife came to bed last night with a song in her heart and I was so busy moaning and groaning about the pain in my hip that I didn’t hear her singing!
by Charlie Leck

“Did you see the email about our baby girl?”

I was struggling to sleep when my wife crawled into bed last night. She had a song in her heart and I’d not the guts to listen to her sing it. My hip was roaring and throbbing. So, she gave up and went to sleep.

In the morning, when the alarm went off, I at least remembered her excited voice from the night before, so, when she had shaken herself awake, I asked:

“What was that business about our little kid?”

She sent me scurrying (as fast as an old guy with a cane can scurry) to her computer.

“Look at that email! Read it”

There was a photo of our youngest child and a story about her that had come in from the alumni department of the private high school from which she had graduated. I read the account and wept a bit with pride. I knew nothing about her game-plan with the school. It was her decision, but I can’t be happier about it.

For security reasons I don’t want to reprint the story here. However, I’ll email a link to it to any of the reader’s I personally know if they want one – just send me an email and ask.

The long and the short of it is that our kid decided to include the private school she attended from K through high school as a beneficiary of her estate. The school’s newsletter says that “our school’s youngest planned giving partner is driven by a passion for education and a desire to influence its future.”

Our kid spent three years in the extraordinary Teach for America program (at the same time studying and getting her master’s degree in education) and then decided to stay in teaching.

She… is presently teaching middle school writing at Harlem Village Academies, a group of three successful charter schools that have produced outstanding results. Her teaching experiences have not only caused her to reflect on her high school education but also on the future of education in America.

“While she values the academic experiences she had at our school, she feels that its emphasis on educating the whole child was just as important. The athletic requirements made her a stronger person and helped develop her character as well as gain team-building experiences; classes within the arts program, particularly Bob Teslow's photography classes, broadened her horizons by building new skills.

Our kid was lucky. The school she is now generously remembering set high standards for her by, as its founder said, “expecting good things of all.”

“This inspires all students to achieve their goals, whether they are in academics, athletics or the arts.”

It was great to read her touching comments in the alumni newsletter.

"I see students every day who, if they had the opportunities I did, would be able to excel and reach profoundly high levels of success. However, many of these students are, instead, struggling in failing schools. I know that I must attempt to change this using a multifaceted approach, and planned giving is a part of this."

So, our daughter named her former school as a partial beneficiary of her estate. I vaguely remember having a conversation with her about this some time ago, but, of course, I wasn’t expecting such prompt action on her part. She wants any such funds the school gets to be designated to need-based tuition assistance. It’s her hope that more students will have access to the quality of education she had.

I got really pumped to read that a PhD is also in her future plans. The things a parent learns by reading a newsletter. It was nice to sense both her maturity and happiness, too, especially in some of the comments she made to the interviewer…

"I love teaching at Harlem Village Academies because I have the privilege of working with some of the brightest, most driven people I've ever met."

I’m proud to boast about her this morning. I’d like to take some credit, but her great strength and drive comes from her mother – and I know it! That’s okay! I’m just happy to be tagging along.

And, the hip ain’t hurtin’ so much this morning. I, too, have a song in my heart!

You can learn more about Harlem Village Academies here

Here's a terrific video about the teachers at Harlem Village Academies
"Schools Designed for Teachers"

or, if you want to see how Harlem Village Academies rock, take a look at this video


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