Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sightings Along the Way

As you can imagine, I see many things on the way to and from work. It's almost a given if you think about the different modes of transportation that I use - a bus, a train, and a shuttle.

The train going home yesterday was no exception. We usually get on the last car on the train because it drops off right at the escalator at the train station so we can easily hop on and hopefully catch our bus on time. Anyway, yesterday's train was a short one, meaning it wasn't near as long as it usually is which, unfortunately, means everybody who thought they were going to get on the last car of the long train (which is usually further down the track at the train station) end up squished together in the last car of the shorter train. Did I loose you there? Don't worry, it isn't that important in the grand scheme of things.

Once onboard, I sat down next to a young African American boy who I thought to be around 12 years old or so. I started chatting with him, asking him all sorts of questions. He was very forthcoming which is something his parents should speak to him about. My Mom always told me not to speak to strangers. Anyway, I digress. I found out that this kid was actually in the 10th grade which would make him what, 15 years old maybe? He sure didn't look a day past 12! He assured me he was telling the truth and I assured him that 20 years from now he would think that looking younger would be a pretty nice trait. He then told me he was on his way home from school. I asked what school and he replied that he went to Dunwoody High School. I then asked where was home and he said he lived south of there. Come to find out he gets off at the Five Points Station and takes the Eastbound train where he finally gets off at the Kensington Station. So, he lives somewhere around there. All being said, he traveled quite a distance to get to school. Probably as far as I travel to get to work. I asked him why he did that and if Dunwoody High School was a better school than any around his neighborhood and he said it most certainly was. It'd have to be for me to make that trek everyday as a 15 year-old! He did admit that he got lost alot, even as recent as last week! I felt bad for him but assured him I get lost most everyday in Atlanta, which is basically true. If not for my Garmin, God knows where I would be right now!

We chatted some more and then he started working on some schoolwork, most notably, an essay he had to write for class. He asked me to proofread it for him which I gladly did. The students were instructed to write a fable and it had to be 200 words long. His fable involved a Leprechaun which he had mispelled (and which I had to Google to be sure I had it spelled right) and another character by the name of Wiggledodo. I laughed and asked him to pronunciate "Wiggledodo" and he did, and yes, it is pronounced just as it is spelled. The fable was about the difference between a human heart and the heart we normally see at Valentine's day. He hadn't finished the story so I don't really know how he connected the two characters to the differences in the hearts or what differences he planned to spell out. We chatted a bit more and I learned that he does have a computer at home but only has Internet access when he goes to his grandmother's house which I thought was a good thing except that the Internet is a wonderful resource tool for school kids. Maybe Grandma isn't that far away!

Oh, and they did a career quiz type exercise in class that day and it was determined that he should be a Professor. He was pretty psyched about that which is cool. A really nice young man.
Then we get to the train station and disembark and head to our bus while the young man headed to his Eastbound train. I'm sure I probably won't run into him again so I won't hear the end of his fable but I'm sure he probably received a good grade on it. That required quite an imagination to come up with that story to start with and I'm sure from the little bit that I read, he told the story well.

On our ride home we usually see alot of panhandlers, crazies wanting to convert us, others talking to invisible beings, others being rude, etc. It was very refreshing to see a nice young man like that working on his homework and being a nice person.
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Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I love responsible, pleasant, young people. So refreshing.


Steve Barton said...

I agree with your previous commenter. But as you think about that student's commute, consider this recent comment from a discussion of NCLB transfers to Dunwoody HS, for example:

as far as transportation goes... this could be income-generating!

written by Cerebration, August 19, 2008

As far as reimbursement goes - you have to come from a Title 1 school to get reimbursed. And - it's Federal money -- our tax dollars hard at work. Here's an interesting example of the income-producing possibility of a transfer from Miller Grove HS to Dunwoody HS. The distance is approx. 20 miles each way (40 miles per day) times $0.585 per mile = $23.40 per day! Multiply that by an average of 20 school days per month and you get $468.00 per month! Imagine if you will - someone willing to lie (about driving the child to school) and instead sending their kid to school on Marta - the monthly pass for unlimited rides costs $52.50 - leaving you with a net profit of over $400.00!!! What a deal!!


And all the best, Steve Barton

Maria Peters said...

Patti...everytime you pay attention to kids, they thrive. You have a way about you that is so encouraging to young souls. I know my kids appreciate that!