We started moving StarShine yesterday. It rained all day and it was cold for Phoenix, low 50’s most of the day. I got to school around 7:30. The movers were already there and all the classrooms were ‘boxed up’. TrishMcCarty, the founder of the school, text me as soon as I walked in the door. She was stuck in Hawaii due to bad weather and plane problems.
So…we gathered the Move Team (Rich Rose, Rand Blunck, Tom Woodward, Jan Parsons and myself) and rallied around with all our hands together in a circle, like a football rally. And then -- we started moving the school and dodging rain drops.
The first activity was Opening with all the students, teachers and volunteers in the cafeteria. We had an interesting mix of volunteers. Some of the volunteers have supported the school for many years. Like Glen, who gives StarShine a donation every year on his birthday. Some of the volunteers were new to StarShine. In addition - some of the volunteers were parents and former students. Opening happens every day when school starts at 8:00. Mr. Dawson starts with a clap and then all the students stretch, have a moment of silence, listen to announcements and say the pledge.
I took the mic at the beginning of Opening to introduce the volunteers and talk about the move. I almost lost my composure thinking this was the end of a decade of memories at the old campus, however I also felt excitement about our move to the new campus.
After I introduced everyone, Jan Parsons, the Assistant Headmaster, took over and started Opening. She had Josette Saldana read an essay to everyone. Josette is in 5th grade in Mr. Dawson’s class. She started at StarShine as a kindergartener, but I can remember when Regina, her mom, was pregnant with Josette. The essay was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Here is what she said:
These are memories I have from StarShine. First of all, I would like to say, “StarShine was my first school.” It was also the first StarShine campus made. I remember the first time I went to StarShine. I was so anxious that I fell out of my chair. But, I knew I was going to have a great time.
Then, I got to know people at StarShine. I made lots of friends. Most importantly, I learned a lot. I knew StarShine was the one and only great school for me. We did lots of art murals outside our classrooms. We even have our own garden. That is also what I like about this school.
In closing, I would like to say, “No matter if I leave the school I will never forget StarShine.” I would also like to say, “No matter if our new campus is bigger this campus is still the best. I can’t believe how many years we been at this campus. I will never forget my StarShine memories.
Thanks Josette for a beautifully written essay that says what StarShine means to so many.
After Opening, the students went to class, and the volunteers and movers went to work packing up the school.
Early in the afternoon, I walked around the campus. It was an interesting dichotomy of activity. The high school students were reading, working online, mentoring younger students or helping the movers. They were all over campus assisting in every way possible. Mr. Dawson’s class was studying just like a normal day. Ms. Smith’s class was watching an educational movie. And, the kindergarteners and first graders were helping the movers along with parents and other staff. All of this was going on in the rain and cold. Everyone was smiling, everyone was happy and everyone was learning.
Sometimes, StarShine reminds me of ‘The Little Engine That Could’ it just keeps chugging along no matter what.
If you enjoyed this inspirational Kids Without Stuff story, you’ll want to read: