Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Erin Brockovich Moment

Chicken attends a very small charter school here, which houses just under 150 students in a tiny facility. Our library is shared with the kitchen, faculty bathroom, Dean's office and planning office. We're small but tight; there for one purpose: a better education.
Since 2002, our school has been trying to get the Town to approve site plans for a NEW! BIG! school which will house 18 classrooms, a cafenasium (cafeteria/gymnasium/assembly hall), real library, sports field and many other amenities that we've given up in exchange for higher education (trust me, it's proven well worth it). Last night was the final Town Hall meeting where the Mayor & his peeps would make a decision. Notices were posted all over school this week: "Please support our new school!" "Vote YES to the expansion!", etc. Everyone was given notice but we all knew who would actually show up, many of us were called by the principal, specifically asking us to speak. I was one of them. "Many parents are too intimidated to speak, I knew you wouldn't be. Please talk at the Town meeting on behalf of all the parents." she asked me. I thought, that's a pretty tall order. I'm loud, I'm opinionated and sometimes, well spoken but I can't go in front of the entire municipality, on local TV and beg them to give us the opportunity to build a new school.
Luckily, I had dinner plans. But my dinner plans were cancelled and I participated in an event that is a metamorphosis in my life.
The meeting began at exactly 6:30pm, we arrived in strong numbers, 50+ parents, many of us with our children. We're last on the long agenda. Short, stout with big frizzy hair, a former councilwoman said to us "If you're here for the charter school, you won't be heard until at least 10pm." "Well," we thought, "we have important people here. Lawyers, engineers, architects and investors. Surely, they'll see our children and let us go early." They did not. By 9pm, our number were less by more than half.
At 10:20, they called our item: 4.23 on the agenda. The lawyers spoke, the architect spoke, our principal spoke and I spoke (along with a few other parents). I made direct eye contact with the Mayor and our district councilwoman and told them I live, work, play and my daughter goes to school right here in Town. I told them the story of Chicken's early reading skills and how our puny school took her in, accommodated her skill and how she's flourished. I spoke eloquently, my voice didn't quiver (shockingly) and towards the end, I cried a little.
The Mayor voted against us, the council people voted for us and we won. Like in Erin Brockovich, we jumped out of our seats, sleeping babies and all, with screams and endless hugs.
In 5 years, my daughter will be one of the first students to enter our huge, 2 story, several acre school as a middle-school student.
And I will forever remember this day, this feeling and our powerful victory.

4 comments:

Ramblings of Kimberly said...

Congrats!!!! Very proud of you!!!! I know you feel sooo accomplished!

Anonymous said...

you should be so proud of yourself!! I know I am! (proud of you, not me) Olivia is a lucky little girl to have a mommy like you!! You should tell her that often and loudly whenever necessary! Love you!

Kimberly said...

Wooo HOOO!!!! That is awesome! Chicken is so lucky!

Kimberly said...

ok, sorry it took so long to get to you, Spohia. I've been having a week :)

Your questions for the meme (C&P the instructions from my blog because I'm lazy, ok?)

1. George W Bush, Demon or Demigod? Why?

2. Who was your very first teen idol crush?

3. What is your earliest memory?

4. What do you want to be when you grow up?

5. If you could only do one or the other, would you choose to read blogs or write your own?