Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birthday Wishes for Kate

Last night I attended a very special birthday party. Lansing Roy turned 70 and his granddaughter Kate turned 1! My connection to the party was the mom in the middle. Elizabeth Roy Conte and I taught together at Chets Creek for several years. In fact, I was her Special Education teacher during the Teacher of the Year selections. She is a lot of the reason that I was selected because I was able to use the strong rituals and routines that she had established in her room when I taught demo lessons in her class. It was her lovely, organized room that visitors saw when they watched me teach and best of all, Elizabeth was the lead cheerleader. She is a passionate, committed teacher in her own right who was very often chosen to teach demo lessons because of her expertise and natural ability. In fact, she taught our very first videostream to the Schultz Center. She is a risk taker and an accomplished National Board Certified teacher. I have been so fortunate to share time with her over the years.

Like so many of her young teacher friends at Chets, Elizabeth has taught her entire career at the Creek. She came as a young single teacher and then married and had two children. We watched and celebrated each of those landmarks. This young group of teacher friends have shared many things - pregnancy thrills and challenges, suggestions for soothing colicky babies, what to do about children's asthma and allergies, birthday parties... They have met as a mommy play group since the first babies were born, even through the summer. Now they are working on Round Two babies. Last year Elizabeth welcomed her second child and first daughter, Baby Kate. Almost immediately, there was a problem and Kate was eventually diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy. Through the diagnosis of this genetic disorder, it was also discovered that the gene is carried by both Elizabeth and her father. Through their heartache and pain, Elizabeth and her husband Dave searched for answers. Last night their strong families and many friends came together to celebrate the answer- a cure through money for research.
Many of Elizabeth's Chets Creek family were there - young teachers with their husbands, babies, toddlers and preschoolers in tow along with Principal Susan Phillips. As we celebrated, we cried, we laughed and we joined in the family's hope for a cure! As I watched our little group of young moms and dads with their precious children, it was a looking glass into the future of Chets Creek. Some of these moms have stepped out of the teaching force to be stay-at-home moms. Some have returned to teach part-time. Others have never left teaching and one even came with a new foster child last night but the one thing they all have in common is that they have a heart for children and they all want their own children at a school like Chets Creek when the time comes. They know the school from the inside out and even with its flaws, they want their children to have the opportunities that are offered there. I think it is these strong, deep relationships that these teachers have with each other that are characteristic of a high performing school. It is just so reaffirming to me as I watch these moms rally around Elizabeth and her hope for the future because what we want for Kate is what we want for each of our little ones - as her mother said through her tears last night, "we want her to dance" - to learn and to find meaning and happiness. Happy Birthday, little Kate! May we be there for all of your birthdays... as you celebrate the cure!


Mrs. Lauren Skipper said...

We do love Baby Kate and Elizabeth:) We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends to support eachother. What a fabulous way for our kids to grow up surrounded by so much love!We will all be watching and celebrating when we see Baby Kate dance!

Anonymous said...

I love you dayle! We are so lucky to have each other and to be able to be there for each other at this fun and challenging time in our lives. It is equally as comforting to know that you and Susan are there supporting our decisions as well. Its hard for me to come visit Chets because Im so torn between being there and staying home. Although I know Ive made the right choice my heart still aches everytime I drive by...but having this excellent group of friends and having all been connected through Chets is perfect. I couldnt ask for a better group of girls! And a better group of playmates either!! And as Lauren said the other day....Look out Chets Creek here they come!! :)
Love, meredy

H. Alvarado said...

I agree with all you 100%. A great workplace is one in which you can make friends and relationships both at work and outside of work. If only every teacher looked at every child through the eyes of a concerned, loving, and hopeful parent!! For now we'll continue to support our friends, colleagues, and parents and hopefully teach others along the way, that every child belongs to a "mommy" and a "daddy" and that child means the WHOLE world to them, as he/she should!!!

Randi said...

Exactly, dayday! It was exactly that, a celebration of a precious life, a wonderful family and the journey to find a cure! We love you "Baby Kakes"!

Mrs. Jennifer Zawis said...

What a beautiful and touching post dayle. Not a day goes by that I am not consumed with gratitude and appreciation for this wonderful group of friends that I came to find, and now cannot live without, through Chets Creek. We were so glad to be able to join the incredible Conte/Roy family in celebration of "Baby Kakes."