Starfish Story

By: Crystal McDonald

Does change only counts when it’s huge and grossly evident or can it be small and go without much notice? Well for me, at least in my mind, it’s those small, not really noticeable changes that lead to that huge, highly visible change.  I mean let’s look at the evolution of the continents. It started out as one giant plate and over the course of Millions of years it underwent a series of small unnoticeable shifts and alignments to cause seven distinct masses of land.  Who knows what the world will look like in another billion years, we won’t get to see it,  but that doesn’t mean it won’t occur (the world is probably shifting right now as I type). Fortunately for me, I have the privilege to see the small changes I’m making in the lives of the kids I work with every day.

There’s one young lady in particular that has really grabbed my heart.  Miss Mary reminds me so much of myself. She’s a little loud, blunt and a little quick-tempered just as I once was, but she also has so much potential like me as well. I know one day she is going to be a strong, wise young lady one day as well as a leader of her peers.  I can recall one day in particular she came into the room where we hold our Afterschool Heroes program, knowing she wasn’t supposed to be there. At the school I serve, every Wednesday they hold afterschool detention and Mary was assigned Wednesday school that week. When our afterschool coordinator told her that she couldn’t participate in afterschool that day, she went into a rant and rave and stormed out of the room.  I immediately went after her because I had become very fond of her and I also didn’t want her to skip Wednesday school which would result in her being removed from school for one day.

When I caught up to her she was going off about how the teacher who wrote her up was stupid and of course how she didn’t even do anything.  Then she said, “I’m just not gonna go”, exactly what I knew she would try to do. So we walked around the school for about an half hour and talked about making good decisions, weighing pros and cons focusing on consequences for certain actions. At the end of our discussion we both decided that attending Wednesday was the best option. So, I escorted her to the auditorium where it was held and talked the principal into letting her stay because she was already late and removal forms were already being drawn up against her. After hearing that she was getting upset again and about ready to leave, but I pulled her aside and told her to let me handle it and that sometimes she just needs to bite her tongue. The principal let her stay and she avoided a suspension and was able to come to afterschool the next day. When I talked to her the next day, she said to me that she really appreciated me and that she was glad she stayed and got it over and done with. Although Mary has been in Wednesday school again since that day, I’m glad that she is owning her actions and learning from her experiences, which is what I want from every child. Mary is going to be something amazing one day and I’m glad that I get to see and be a part of the little changes every day that are shaping her big transformation.


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