Chattanooga Times Free Press
April 3, 2012
Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Last Friday we experienced, as did so many across the country, a terrifying series of tornadoes that came remarkably close to our middle school. Though thankfully no fatalities resulted in Chattanooga, the area of town that experienced the most damage was that of my school’s zone and had thus been subsequently on my mind all weekend long. This morning I learned that one of my students (and mind you, I only teach about 5% of the school’s population) had lost her home during the very moment I was ushering her into the hallway last Friday to take cover. Stunned, I realized that I had just waved to her in the hallway ten minutes prior; I could not imagine the amount of strength it took for her to wake up and come to school today.
And when she and I sat down after class to talk about it, I was fairly unsurprised to see her force a smile through her story. This little 7th grade girl has always been one to embrace a positive attitude through adversity. Even though she always hangs with the boys, she consistently reveals a very sweet, insightful side beneath her tough-girl exterior. In explaining to me what it was like to get off the school bus and walk toward a house no longer recognizable as her own, she eloquently explained that she remembered one of her favorite quotes from a novel we studied last semester.
The quote that she referenced (verbatim, at that) from Warriors Don’t Cry: “Please, god, let me learn how to stop being a warrior. Sometimes, I just need to be a girl.”
It’s moments like these when I realize that some of my students are stronger and more profound than most adults I am acquainted with.
Photo Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
No better start to the weekend than hanging with 6th graders in the hallway for an hour during a tornado.