Monday, May 1, 2017

It Takes a Village: Summit Soundboard Bluegrass

Recently I had the great opportunity to partake in the Bluegrass Summit. I did not attend the first day, but the second day was more than amazing. I truly believe that there aren't the right, or enough, words that can explain the feelings I had and still have.


Picture it - entering the building to warm “Good mornings” and smiles. But, it doesn’t stop there. After getting my nametag, I am greeted once again. This time by Emily Fitzpatrick as she dances along to the music playing. This set the tone for my entire day! If you weren’t already excited, you were definitely now! The day started with the great keynote speaker, Dee Lanier. The energy and inspiration that came from this speech sparked a tiny flame that continued to grow as the day continued. After going to classroom after classroom collecting information and participating in activities that I could use with my own 4th grade students, I found myself thinking, "why is the day going so fast? Slow down!" I just did not want it to end.


Remember that tiny flame that was sparked and continued to grow? Well, let's just say that it became a raging fire by the end of the day! My mind was going at a rapid speed, and my emotions were scrambled by the end of the last speech of the day. The final session was a speech done by a Ms. Emily Fitzpatrick. I have known for quite some time that I don't think like everyone else, but being in a room surrounded by those that are so passionate and eager to learn, I was home.


Although the entire speech was AMAZING there was one (of many) things that I took away from it...I am a Lilo. Disney's cartoon, Lilo and Stitch, was one that focused on family but there was one thing I was missing. Ms. Emily Fitzpatrick spoke of the story of this dynamic duo and how Lilo was often alone because she was so passionate. She found a friend in Stitch. Now, Stitch was a different type of pet, an alien actually. But, he stuck by Lilo's side for anything. He was her support system and made sure she never felt alone.

I never thought of this before today. I think collaboration is WONDERFUL! But, I also find myself in my own little world....with the exception of one very important person. You see, this EXTRAORDINARY person is my teammate, Courtney Howard. This lady is my Stitch. Words can't begin to explain how fortunate I am to work with a teacher that, although we may show our passions differently, has that same amount of passion. I don't worry that my ideas make little to no sense. I don't think about what she may think if I go against the grain. We all need that one person that makes the day just a little more easier just by knowing that they are there. We all need a support system. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes one to raise a teacher as well. We all need a Stitch. If you don't have one, be fact, let's all be one.

The hard work and presenters made this an experience that will stay with me for years to come. For that I am thankful!

Ciji Thurman
Twitter: @Ciji_Thurman
4th Grade Science Teacher and
Innovate Teacher Fellow (Hardin County)
Rineyville Elementary

Want to join passionate educators like Ciji at a summit near you? Check out our summit page here

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