Tuesday, February 10, 2015

She Came, Changed, and She Changed Others

I remember the day when Z. came. It was September 2, 2014. First day of school. She walked in timidly and sat down very quietly. She smiled a little, but did not say much.

September went by. Z. worked so hard. She wanted to complete everything perfectly. Z. smiled a little more. She was also a little less timid. She offered opinions.

October arrived. The weather turned colder. Z. was even more determined to learn everything she could possibly learn. After all, she is a junior. She will only have two years of high school before heading to college. Z. was now asking more questions. She came during lunch and study hall to get help, or just to complete homework that required the use of computer. Often she had a younger high school student with her.

November came almost too quickly. Z. was learning really quickly as well. Her generic questions had become specific questions. But now it wasn't just Z. who came or who wanted to work hard. N. who sat next to Z. in class was starting to pay more attention. N. was beginning to complete her homework. She did really well on a quiz (the first one ever that she did well). I asked N. "What happened?" N. replied that sitting next to Z. has been really helpful to her.

December was a short month at school, but its shortness did not limit Z. She continued to work hard. All her grades were As or at least a B+. Don't forget that Z. had just come to America from a country were unrest or war has disrupted everything for many years. When Z. would come during study hall, she would often help one of the younger high school students in math. Z. would quietly sit down next to the struggling student and say, "Can I help you?" --Could I please have ten more students like Z?

January started with snow. For Z. this meant a couple extra days to study at home. Even her father says that Z. is always studying. Taking a break in her studies means helping her younger brother with his homework! End of semester exams were stressful for Z. She worried how she would do. Would she pass? Nevertheless, she studied. She came during lunch or stayed after school. When she could not find the answer to a question in the study guide, she came with specific questions. She passed all of the exams. She ended her first semester in America with wonderful grades.

This is only a part of the story of Z. The other part is how she encourages other students. Z. is always willing to help or work together with those who are struggling. She often tells N. and many others: "You need to study. You can do this." There are many new students this year who are doing much better because Z. has walked alongside with them. She has whispered encouraging words. Z. has literally changed lives! Z.never complains. Just today she came with another student who is struggling with her science fair board. Z. said, "Come, lets go. I will explain it to you. I will help you."

Thank you Z. for making a difference in your fellow students' lives!

20 comments:

  1. Amazing what a difference one person can make! Z sounds like she will go a long, long way with that attitude and work ethic!

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  2. I love your student's mindset! Imagine how far we could go if everyone thought like her. Good for her!

    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer, she really is a special one!

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  3. What an amazing person Z is!!! Thank you for sharing her with us! She is certainly an inspiration to all!! :)

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    1. You are right, she is inspirational!

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  4. Wow! Z could teach us a few things, couldn't she?! What a blessing she is.

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    1. Holly, I don't think she even realizes what a blessing she is!

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  5. I am in awe of Z - wise and kind and just the sort of person who will make a difference in this world of ours.

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    1. Tara, it would be so much fun to write about her in 10 years!

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  6. LOVE Z and her learning journey with you. Ahhh the best about teaching, Jaana!

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    1. Bonnie, students like Z really keep me going!

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  7. What a great story. I am sure that Z didn't realize the effect she had on another student. Sounds like a win-win for all.

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  8. What a delightful slice! Z has been an inspiration to so many others (and probably doesn't even realize it). Keep encouraging and helping her to share her love of learning with others.

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    1. Judy, Z showed her true character again today! Love seeing her in my class every day!

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  9. Z is an awesome example for others...she sounds so confident in her willingness to encourage and help others. You are blessed that you are witness to her success!

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    1. Amy, I really do count myself blessed that I have the privilege to teach her.

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  10. What an inspiring slice, Jaana! Hooray for Z and her passion and drive for learning!

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  11. I absolutely loved this slice! Z has a love of learning and it is so neat that she is bringing others into this love as well!

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