This post is a long time in coming, and I beg your forgiveness for keeping the story’s ending in suspense. Though I have been quite busy, that is not the real reason I haven’t set fingers to keyboard for almost two months. I’ve started to write this a dozen times and put it off each time, and I think I finally figured out why. Because I don’t want it to be over. Writing the last post feels like admitting that Citizen Schools is over and “my kids” are gone. I’ve grown quite attached to them over the semester, and we’ve had a great time tatting and talking, and I wish it could continue.

Notwithstanding my sentimentality, we had a GREAT semester and an awesome WOW! The students got a chance to show off their mad tatting skills to the public…

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…and explain what “tatted lacemaking” is to those interested…

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Here is our booth, with pics from the whole semester and a framed selection of their favorite projects. There were a lot of butterflies, but also a couple flowers, mice and a micro-dragon! A few tatting shuttles, thread and patterns are on the table for the students to use to explain what they have been doing.

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Here is a close-up of the projects:

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And a not-so-close-up of the exhibit hall, where the various apprenticeships were showing off their projects.

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This semester had a number of interesting apprenticeships, including drawing, karate, budgeting, making a stop-motion film, cooking with science, creative writing, and my personal favorite, how to survive in Santa Fe in 1000 B.C.

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Here is me with a few of the girls I snagged quickly at the end, when I realized I hadn’t gotten a picture of US! Silly me. Sorry about the poor quality, it was taken on my camera phone. I love how proud they look of themselves. They deserve it!

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Next semester I won’t be able to teach Citizen Schools again, as I got hired! I’m finishing my teaching license this month, and in August I start teaching German at a local charter high school. It is bittersweet for me, as I’m glad to finish a long-term goal and put my brand new license to use right away, but am also sad I won’t be able to do Citizen Schools again. They have a supporter in me, and I hope one of you who have been reading this series might get inspired to volunteer at your local public school. There are lots of programs out there that need volunteer support, and the kids are better than any paycheck.

After the WOW! I got to meet with the kids one last time and say good bye to each other. They were very sweet and I almost cried when I read their thank you card. It is on my wall at home now. I also gave away extra thread and a couple shuttles to the five or six girls who said they would keep up tatting. I hope they do, and I think a few of them actually will.

Whether or not they ever tat another butterfly in their lives, I know that they learned something about the value of hard work and perseverance, and that when they encounter something difficult, they can work hard and get frustrated and work hard and eventually master it. If they take away even a seed of this thought, I will have done my job and done it well.

If any of my tatting students are reading this, I wish you the best of luck and many great years. Work hard and you will succeed in whatever you try. Remember how hard tatting was at first? And how you kept at it and learned how to do it and now it is easy? The same is true with math or your first job or marriage or raising kids. I wish you all a wonderful journey…and maybe a couple of you will journey to my German class when you get to high school! You will be most welcome!