Submitted by Carol Duerksen
You know how it is when you contact a school for your check-in, and if you are lucky they send a short email back in a timely fashion? We’ve all been there, done that. But on one of my contacts with Ken Parry, Principal at Peabody-Burns Middle School/High School in Peabody, Kansas, regarding the two Spanish boys at his school, I got an email back saying “Where have you been keeping these boys?” and then a few more words about how wonderful they are. I followed up with a few more questions, eager to hear the awesome details.
Q: What activities are the boys in?
A. Wow…..both were in football, basketball, FFA, golf, helping Junior class with activities…concession stands, etc.
Q. Tell me about the successes they have experienced in their activities.
A. Jorge was the kicker for the football team, Pablo was on the varsity squad for basketball. Both have won medals in FFA events and Pablo was one of the top laborers in our annual FFA labor Auction…he was bought for $210. Both boys went with FFA to the Denver Stock Show for a 3 day trip with FFA. Pablo is so involved in activities, he asked the coach to remove him from the varsity squad for the last 2 games so he could help the junior class and FFA with concessions.
I have personally hired them to help me with some items in the yard. Both are hard workers. They are so polite, respectful, and fun to be with.
3. Q. Tell me about their attitudes towards school.
A. They have a great attitude towards school. In fact, they made the comment how much different education is in America than in Spain. It also confuses them how many of their fellow classmates do not get their work done so that they are not ineligible. Both are getting straight A’s. I have NEVER heard anything negative about them. Teachers are impressed that they do not use any language barrier as an excuse for not doing their work.
4. Q. How do they relate socially to other students?
A. These two relate to other students very well. They were never really loners and fit right in our school, both academically and socially. The kids love them here. Since Christmas, I have had many students come to me and tell me how much it is going to bother them when Jorge and Pablo leave and how the kids here will really miss them.
5. Q. How are their English skills?
A. Their English skills are good. The only issue is with me being hard of hearing, sometimes their accent makes me ask them to repeat what they have said.
6. Q. Anything else?
A. I really do not know where you have been keeping these two. I have two families that literally do not want to discuss their children leaving. These two have made a great impact on our school and our community. The memories that Pablo and Jorge have made in our school community will last a lifetime!
This is the dream response from a school, and when it happens, it gives me new energy to keep on placing students, knowing how truly life-changing this program is for so many people!