Sometimes there are pay-offs for your hard work. Really there always is. It’s either intrinsic or extrinsic and while we should be satisfied with the intrinsic “good feeling inside,” most of us really do love it when someone else recognizes our hard work. Rachel is very motivated by recognition. She loves an audience but she also loves the text, phone calls, note from MawMaw, seeing her name in a program and receiving an on-the-spot handshake. Last week I wrote a blog “8th Grade is Hard.” I mentioned that I tell Rachel that sometimes things are hard and we still have to do them. Today, I want to share a couple of her “extrinsic” pay-offs for her hard work.
Rachel has been in 13 shows with Christian Youth Theater, Missoula Children’s Theatre (Bartlett Performing Arts Center) and the Bartlett Community Theater. She has been in commercials and videos, church productions, choir programs, dance and piano recitals, and has given speeches in may places. However, outside of the elementary productions she has never auditioned for a school show. Each year of middle school we have toyed with auditioning for a show and the first two years opted out for one reason or another. In retrospect, I think that was a good plan. It gave Rachel time to get her grounding and the staff time to get to know her. When they announced the show would be “Guys and Dolls” this year, they had been watching the dancing in musical theatre club and Rachel said she wanted to audition. This was in the spring. I went to the theater teacher (who by the way rocks!) and wanted to know if we could come up with some accommodations to help Rachel be able to audition. The main thing Rachel needs is to be able to know and practice her audition piece with her voice teacher (who also rocks) for a while. So they accommodated us by allowing Rachel to work on her audition a bit longer than the other kids. We made sure we understood exactly how the auditions would be conducted. I walked Rachel through this multiple times. I would not be at the audition so I reminded her about “100 times” (according to Rachel) to flash that smile. Truth is she will not be cast in a show for her singing ability but she might for for her smile and her stage presence. She apparently did well in her audition and when they invited students to share any extra dance moves, Rachel showed them some of her hip-hop moves. That girl! There was great nervousness around our house last week. I’m certain her dad and I were more nervous than Rachel. The audition was on Tuesday and the cast list was posted on Friday after school. When Rachel got to the van, she took her time and finally told me, “I have amazing news. I am a missionary in Guys and Dolls. I got a part mommy!” We are so proud of her. She may not be their best dancer or singer but no one will work harder. She has studied the script every night. Hard work pays off sometimes.
Last night was another big night for the Masts. It was the academic awards program for Indian Trail Middle School. Students must maintain a 3.8 grade point average on their work for the year before to be recognized.
Last year, Rachel missed the ceremony because my ordinarily healthy girl had pneumonia. That made last night even more special. Yes Rachel’s work is modified and she receives accommodations per a little document called the IEP, but Rachel maintained those grades on her work – work that is challenging for her just like the other kids. Again, she may not be able to tell you the plot of ” The Catcher in the Rye,” but she works extremely hard, pays attention and tries to follow the rules. I know a lot of kids work hard but I doubt there are any that work any harder than she does. While she had many friends receiving awards, one of the best parts of the night was that her friends Alex and Savanna also received awards.
Rachel was very happy for them. She invited her reading teacher to come to the ceremony and told her that she would be “honored” if she would come. The teacher said, “How could I not be here after that!”
In presenting the awards, a little bio was read about each student. The last thing read about each student was “what your teachers said about you.” Rachel’s teachers said, “She is a bright star. Enthusiastic!”
So Rachel there are sometimes pay-offs for your hard work. You are definitely a bright star to your parents and we could not be more proud of you!