When I first met Jason he was in kindergarten for the second year and he was not happy about it. He acted out in a variety of ways, including bullying smaller classmates. He often tried to get physical with me as well. Our early outings were limited to me bringing him a healthy snack and talking with him in the school hallway for five minutes. Eventually, we talked for 10 minutes, then 15, and we slowly built up to real outings.
Jason had an obsession with leprechauns and we spent hours in the park searching for them. At one point, he told me: “Mr. Alex, I know there aren’t really any leprechauns, but I love this because you’re the only one who will pretend with me.” Jason is an imaginative, intelligent young man and always wants to go the extra mile to challenge himself.
Jason is now in the 4th grade and it’s been an honor to witness his growth, especially during the pandemic. He goes to the library learning hub to attend online classes whenever his mother has work. He helps his little brother get dressed and eat meals. He skateboards in his backyard. He recently took it upon himself to apologize to classmates he felt he had been mean to in kindergarten.
When I asked Jason what he wanted for Christmas this year, he said he wasn’t expecting any gifts because his mom has had trouble finding regular work during the pandemic. I asked him how it made him feel and he said it's ok because he gets to spend so much extra time with his family.
This young man has achieved so much since kindergarten! He has grown into a loving and thoughtful 4th grader who always sees the positive side to life. I pray he continues to grow and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue walking beside him on his journey.