Are any of you old enough to remember David Bowie’s song Changes? It was the theme of one high school homecoming dance…I won’t say which year!

There are lots of changes going on. It’s getting towards the end of the school year, but it’s not just the end of any school year. Ben is graduating from 5th grade and heading to the Middle School next year, and Lucy is off to the High School in the fall. I’m glad to say that life is pretty much status quo for Charlotte.

5th graders helping out with food pantry collection, May 2012

5th graders helping out with food pantry collection, May 2012

Sprague 5th graders have moved from being regular students to being top dogs of the school. They’ve participated in many empowerment- and leadership-building activities over the past year. This week the 5th graders spearheaded the food drive to ensure that the Wellesley Food Pantry would be well-stocked throughout the summer. At the end of the month they will participate in three, Outward Bound-like days at Hale Reservation, learning how to rock climb, do a ropes course, and learn about ecology–and thanks to great efforts by Sprague teachers and therapists, Ben will participate in all activities.

Ben during 5th grade vs. faculty basketball game, Feb 2012

Ben during 5th grade vs. faculty basketball game, Feb 2012

Earlier in the year, the annual 5th grade vs. the Faculty basketball game took place, with the 5th graders ever so narrowly beating the faculty by one point. What was so amazing, awesome and inspiring about this event was not the close win by the 5th graders, but how so many incredible parents and students came together to ensure that this was a truly inclusive event. Over three Wednesday afternoons, these parent coaches taught ball-handling skills to the students, and worked out certain plays that Ben and his classmates would run during the game. When it came time for the real game, Ben’s classmates– terrific basketball players who could’ve stolen the limelight–willingly passed the ball to Ben, Ben “ran” (wheeled) the ball down the court, and then passed it to another teammate to shoot the basket.

It was a sight to be seen. I missed most of it through my tears. Luckily, it was captured on shaky-cam video.

5th graders (and parent) at game night, March 2012

5th graders at game night, March 2012

What a change from Kindergarten, where during recess Ben was instructed by his teachers to take a ball and go find a friend to play with–only for Ben to return to say that he asked someone but they said no (and the teachers would say, “go try again”), to 5th grade, where Ben is a typical, regular, normal presence and is appreciated and respected by his pals.

I didn’t see these changes coming, but so many other people within our community did, and they made all of this happen. I now have only positive thoughts about upcoming changes during the transition to Middle School, but I pray that some changes never happen, such as losing touch with these great friends as everyone grows up.

Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older

*photos courtesy of Karen Haberly and Jessica Rosenbloom


Pam posted on May 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

You watched the student/faculty game with tears as I read your blog through tears. Although Ben has received a lot from Sprague, I know Sprague has grown even more thank to Ben’s presence.

Rani Elwy posted on May 10, 2012 at 7:08 am

Pam, thank you so much for reading. We miss you at Sprague!

deidra witschorke posted on May 10, 2012 at 7:14 am

Where’s the video?

Stacey Francis posted on May 10, 2012 at 8:50 am

What a great story. Ben has officially played in more basketball games then I did. I couldn’t dribble, walk and shoot….at least one too many things going on at the same time.

Andrea Ghose posted on May 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hooray for Ben and the entire 5th grade class! What great teamwork! I am also feeling much better about my grandson’s transition to Middle School knowing about the compassion and empathy of the Sprague school members and the Wellesley community.

Rani Elwy posted on May 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Thanks everyone for the comments! Deidra, the video appears to large for upload, but it is so shaky, it might make you sick! I’ll see if I can get a smaller clip to add, because it is a wondrous sight.

Ken Kinoshita posted on December 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

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