Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prom King

There are a handful of things school related that are currently bugging the ever-living hell out of me, but I'm not going to post about them. I'm sure you all have your own fresh hell to gnaw on. I'll save it for another day. Posting about them doesn't promise to be cathartic, but rather to have me re-live them all over again. So instead, I have somehthing nice to share.

There is a senior boy at my school who has mild autism. I'm going to call him Ron. He is quite funcional- I had him in class for 2 levels of Spanish and his written work was impeccable. Socially, he is a bit off- it's like having a brilliant 8 year old in class, but intellectually, his mind is like a steel trap. One of his goals has been to refrain from blurting out answers and waiting to be called on. Having him in class was really delightful, as he and I have somewhat of a rapport and the other kids get used to him and are quite nice to him.

I mentioned earlier that we have a Sadie-Hawkins type dance every winter in which Senior boys are nominated for the honor of being crowned King. Well, this year, Ron was the recipient of this honor. It was really a genuine gesture on the part of most of the student body- there weren't any snickers or sarcastic remarks. He wore that crown all week- and then sometimes just for the heck of it.

Fast forward to April. The kids are in Prom-mode. Ron puts a note up on the bulletin board in the cafeteria looking for a ride to the dance. A Senior girl in one of his classes asks him about it. "Ron, I saw your note. Did you end up getting a ride to Prom?" No, not yet, was his answer. "Well," she said, "I talked it over with my parents, and they'd be happy to drive you to the Prom. And a bunch of us are going out to dinner before the dance and we'd like you to join us- your dinner will be all taken care of." These kids all chipped in to pay for his meal, as well as his Prom ticket, and arranged for his ride home. They didn't do it for any recognition, nor for any fun to be had at his expense. They just did it because he's their classmate, and they think he's cool and they know that he's not like them in many ways, and they wanted him to have a good time at his Senior Prom.

So the next time you see teenagers being loud and obnoxious or hear about some heinous crime commited by teens, I want you to remember this story.


Blogger Sunshine said...

My autistic brother graduated from high school two years ago (class of 301 graduates) and he was like Mister Cool Rider, everybody loved him, he had quite a fan club and going to his graduation and seeing kids slapping him on the back and being proud of him - it made my heart swell.

5/15/2008 9:43 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

Love this! This reminds me of the chatter about girls - there's this narrative that they're all snarky and mean and clique-driven. But I have seen absolutely nothing but friendship, love and kindness coming from my daughter and her small circle of friends!

5/16/2008 8:59 AM  
Blogger Profesora de español said...

Great story!

Your live-traffic feed, however, not so awesome. It blocks out part of your entry! :-(

5/16/2008 3:48 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Profesora de espanol- Does it really? I've looked at it on a different computer and haven't had that problem- anyone else? Cuz if it's blocking your view, I will have to remove it. Thanks for letting me know.

5/16/2008 4:26 PM  
Blogger ORION said...

This was wonderful. As a former high school teacher I have been cynical at times about teenagers. This gives me hope.
Thank you for posting it.

5/16/2008 8:02 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Yep - the live traffic feed isn't where it's supposed to be (but I was still able to read the entry).

Thanks for this. I'm a little down on my kids right now, and I needed some light.

5/17/2008 6:53 AM  
Blogger Professor J said...

This is lovely. Thanks for telling the story.

5/18/2008 9:21 AM  
Blogger Mister Teacher said...


5/18/2008 9:18 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

What a wonderful, hopeful story...thanks for sharing it!!

5/19/2008 12:26 PM  
Blogger Pissed Off said...

Great--the kids I teach are similar.

5/21/2008 5:28 PM  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Thanks for this story Mrs. T. Nicely uplifting. I was always terrified of teenagers until I met my partner's wonderful kids. They were 19, 15, and 10 when we met The 15 year old utterly terrified me at first. But now, she and I get along the best. Ya gotta get to know folks up close and personal to get over fear and hatred. It's the same with all groups we have issues with, isn't it?

5/24/2008 11:55 AM  
Blogger Miss Señora said...

That's so awesome. Great story that I may have to bookmark just to get through the rest of the year!

5/29/2008 6:57 AM  

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