Friday night the weather was funky.
It wasn't all that cold.
It didn't precipitate all that much.
But there was black ice everywhere.
I got lucky somehow and made it home before all the real craziness started.
Others, I saw on Facebook, spent HOURS stuck in traffic.
There were dozens of accidents, most pretty minor, thankfully.
We were supposed to have a team bonding night for the Speech & Debate team.
When the weather advisory came through, we decided to reschedule.
Children on roads in icy conditions is just not safe.
It would have been fun.
We were going to make Gingerbread houses and eat ourselves sick and play silly games.
The weekend before finals, I can't say I was all that enthusiastic.
Timing. Not always ideal.
Most of the kids accepted the postponement without comment.
A few though, were resisted the change.
They were unexpectedly disappointed.
Not that I thought they wouldn't be disappointed, but the depth of that disappointment was more than anticipated.
Several stopped by after school and just stuck.
One in particular was devastated.
This sad little lamb, let's call her Samantha, was in tears.
She said she didn't want to go home, but she wouldn't say why.
Samantha is an incredibly bright and seriously damaged young lady.
A couple of years ago, she lost her father unexpectedly.
In a very real way, she has not yet begun to recover.
Often she tells me she can't concentrate because she is angry about something or someone.
She is prone to fits of uncontrollable crying.
Her grades are consequently abysmal.
Sometimes, it feels like she uses her trauma as an excuse not to try.
I don't think that is really her intent.
On the days she is emotionally stable enough to try, her grades shut her down.
It is completely overwhelming for her to see all those Fs.
I have gotten her into Speech and Debate and now Creative Writing.
She seems so homeless, so rootless.
I want her to invest.
Creative Writing is a good fit I think.
She was welcomed with open arms, given a book, and asked to try Black Out Poetry.
Her first attempt was stunning.
Simple, moving, and made from a book no one else thought had much potential.
Samantha is a brilliant poet in the making.
Though it is just a baby step towards truly joining, it is a step in the right direction.
That was early in the week.
After school Friday, she stayed and stayed.
She also cried.
Speech and Debate has adopted her wholeheartedly.
She can't compete yet, maybe not until next year, because of her grades.
Until then, she has been invited to come to practice.
The team has welcomed her with open arms and unrestrained acceptance.
She has been to a tournament as an observer.
It was a good experience for her and she learned a lot and enjoyed herself pretty thoroughly.
Our team this year is pretty awesome like that.
She was planning to attend team bonding.
So she was crushed by the postponement.
Probably more so than most of the more active team members.
She sat and cried and repeated how much she did not want to go home.
One of the team captains stopped by, saw Samantha crying, and immediately hugged her.
A second team member came by and in passing told Samantha she loved her.
I doubt she realizes how much that means to Samantha.
Probably the offhand manner adds to the value of such a statement.
Still another student, not a team member, but a special snowflake of my colleague's, also stopped by.
She immediately adopted Samantha.
They sat together and talked.
This other student is a Senior.
Without any hesitation, she helped Samantha sort through her grades.
They made a plan for raising those grades that are salvageable.
She insisted Samantha plan to stay after school on Monday so they could work together.
Her reassurances and kindness were undeniably genuine.
So much so, Samantha couldn't help but respond positively.
She dried her tears and even smiled as she agreed to work with her new friend.
I don't know exactly what else I can do to support Samantha.
But it seems like my instinct to find her some roots might be working.
For now, that is enough of a good thing.