Today I’m grateful and filled with joy from last week’s school visits in Wisconsin. The week started in Hartland, where I got to read my book and sing with a class of third graders and then two classes of fifth graders. This visit was actually an auction-item donation to support their school building project, time with an author and signed books to the highest bidder. My husband was also there; his donation, a meeting to learn from a planetary scientist from NASA. You could say he’s recruiting, to help keep dreams of space travel alive. My Dad and sister joining us made it extra special.
Our second visit found me at Howard Elementary with a special group of fourth graders in the Green Bay area. To celebrate my book’s birthday, we were greeted with balloons, cookies, flowers and tons of smiles!
It made my soul sing to be able to read the story aloud after sharing its backstory with this school family, connected to us because their teacher, Mrs. Vande Hei, is the sister of my brother Mark’s friend Mike. Sibling love for the win!
While I was talking about their Key Principles, John was sharing all about space down the hall with the third grade team. (Photos courtesy of Howard-Suamico Schools)
We both encouraged them to follow their dreams and pursue their passions, be it writing or science, neither or both. What a joy it was to spend time with that incredible school family; the bonus was meeting their servant-hearted custodian, Jesse, on our way out the door. Then we headed south to Cedarburg, where we walked the streets of that quaint little town and celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary before my third and final school visit. This door to a stationery shop caught my eye and spoke to my spirit.
To say that my day at Westlawn Elementary was magical doesn’t begin to describe the enchanting things that are happening in that school of character.
The morning began with a Character Day assembly; no, Colleen and Stef, not THAT kind of character! There were 300 students in that gym but you seriously could have heard a pin drop as these young leaders respectfully listened, eager to hear what the day would hold for them as they unlocked the magic together.
Since Mr. Quigley’s Keys has served as their “North Star” this year, there was a collective gasp of excitement and joy that I will never forget when they announced that I was there to spend the day with them.
This was my nook for the day as I met all of the students by grade level and shared my story from farmer’s daughter to educator to author, a spot I will forever appreciate because it’s where I got to sing and sign with these beautiful Westlawn Dolphins.
At the end of the day, we presented a copy of the book to their hero custodian, Mrs. Heidi, a role model who is cherished and loved because, in the words of a first grader, “she puts us before herself.”
So many magical moments forever imprinted on my heart; I’m leaving Wisconsin with an extra spring in my step and a more vibrant energy, hope and love in my soul.