8.15.2006

First Day

I had to go back to work today. We had our annual Opening Day event, where every employee of the district gets together in one place and does one of two things: 1) go all out, make a costume, cheer like hell, and really have a lot of spirit or 2) sit in the back, furiously drink coffee because it's the only vice you have available to you, and make sarcastic comments about people who fit in category one. Suprisingly enough, I fit in the second category, although I did participate in a keeping-several-balloons-aloft contest that took second place. My boo A.I. kept me company, so it was cool.

Despite the dancing apples that were way, way, way too perky for day one for me, the day was awesome, namely because our school has been under construction for the last 14 months or so, and my floor is practically done, the gym is done, the library is almost done, and the second floor should be done by Monday when the kids come back. To go from a dark, disintegrating, dirty school to a bright, clean, high-functioning building is so amazing. I firmly believe it is going to make a huge difference in how our kids view themselves and their education. It's hard to work hard in school when raw sewage is dripping on your head or jackhammers are going full speed the next room over. My room was already pretty nice. I had AC when very few others had it, and most of my furniture was new. But I got new paint, new carpet, new furniture, and will be getting new computers. We're high rollers now. Take that, Parkway and Rockwood. Only we have way smaller classes. BOO YAH!

Moving along, I watched several awesome documentaries this weekend. Southern Comfort documents the last year in a FTM transsexual's life. Robert Eads, ironically, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after his gender reassignment surgery. He lived in rural Georgia, where doctor after doctor refused to treat his cancer after they found out his former gender. His last year was spent with his girlfriend, who became his caretaker, who was a MTF transsexual. Eads battles his cancer so he can live for one last Southern Comfort conference, a convention for transsexuals in the South. The film gives great insight into the trans community, particularly in the South. I can't imagine being trans, let alone in the South, but these people live their lives with courage and pride.
I also watched Boys of Baraka. The Baltimore City Public Schools, in conjunction with the Abell Foundation, started a school in rural Kenya to combat the 76% dropout rate of African-American male students. Approximately 20 middle school-aged African-American boys were selected every year to attend the school for two years. The philosophy was that by pulling them out of horrible schools and horrible neighborhoods at this pivotal age, the students would enter high school with a better chance at graduation. When the American Embassy in Nairobi closes, the school has no choice but to close, ending the hopes of the boys in the program. The film follows four boys during their year at the school and after the school closes. By showing the boys' home lives and Baltimore City schools, I think the film highlights how little opportunity some children have and how much of a struggle it truly is just to survive.
I would recommend either doc.

Also, I would just like to point out that I love this season of Project Runway. I really do. But I realized that nothing this season, so far, has measured up to three highlights from Season Two:
1) the "Lighten Up, It's Just Fashion" medley
2) Santino impersonating Tim Gunn
3) Daniel Voscovic's quote-of-the-series, "It's a motherfucking walk-off!" I want a t-shirt that says that.