The elementary gymnasium was hot and crowded with parents who had come to see their children receive awards for their hard work throughout the school year. All the children were sitting on the gym floor, eagerly waiting to see if their name would be called. The principle’s voice blasted over the speakers.
“May I have your attention please?” He shouted above the noise of the students and parents.
“I realize it’s a bit hot, muggy and maybe a little stinky in here,” he said with a grin. This made all the children giggle because what child doesn’t love the thought of something stinky or gross. “So we’ll try to get through this as quickly as possible.”
“First up we have Mrs. Clark’s class.” he announced. “She teaches a very special group of children that have many challenges including cerebral palsy and Downs syndrome. Mrs. Clark, would you please come up and present your awards.”
“Thank you, Principle Barns. In our class we do have many challenges to overcome but we do overcome. In our class each child has to do reading, math, spelling and writing even if it has to be done on a computer by voice.” she explained.
“I only have five students this year and I would like for them to come up as I call their names. I would ask that you hold your applause to the end of the presentations for my class.”
“For highest average in reading, Corky Miles.”
Corky stood and with some difficulty walked over to Mrs. Clark and received his award as she shook his hand.
Not far from them was a little girl in an electric wheel chair. Her dress was the color of sunshine and yellow daffodils. She was a thin little thing and the color of the dress complimented her tanned skin and long dark hair. As Corky received his award, she clapped as best she could. Emma has cerebral palsy. She didn’t seem to care that she wasn’t suppose to clap, she wanted to encourage Corky.
“For the highest average in Math, Sabrina Carter.”
Sabrina made her way to Mrs. Clark on a walker, braces preventing her from walking without the assistance of the walker. She received the award and a hand shake also.
Again Emma clapped for her classmate and smiled a big smile .
“For the highest average in spelling Nathan Goode.”
Nathan shyly walked up and received his award and shook Mrs. Clark’s hand. Before he walked away he enveloped her in a big hug. Nathan has Down’s syndrome and loves hugs.
Again Emma clapped and this time she cheered as best she could.
“And now for the highest average in writing, and for perfect attendance, Clay Davis.”
Clay wheeled right up to Mrs. Clark, popped a wheelie in his wheelchair and spun it around. He received his award and shook Mrs. Clark’s hand.
This really excited Emma, she clapped, she cheered and laughed. To her fellow students she gave a shaky thumbs up sign.
“I have one more award to give. This is for the student that has tried the hardest in all subjects and who is the one who encourages not only her fellow students but myself as well. This student is the most improved in all subjects. Emma Adams would you come forward please?”
When Emma heard her name called her mouth fell open and she put her hands to her face and began to cry. After a few moments Mrs. Clark walked over to her.
“What’s the matter Emma? Didn’t you think you would get an award today?” asked Mrs. Clark.
“No.” she said quietly.
A tear slid down her cheek as she received her award and Mrs. Clark gave her a hug.
Everyone in the gym stood to their feet and applauded. Emma’s classmates made their way to her and all gave her a high five.
What a day for Emma, her face was as bright as the yellow dress she was wearing, the color of sunshine. She was sunshine for a lot of other people that day. It wasn’t important to her that she receive an award, only that her classmates did. What she couldn’t say in words she showed in her actions.
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