Wednesday, May 27, 2009


On Thursday night, I directed the last of my programs at FP. It went so well, and I was very proud of the children. They all spoke or sang so well, and performed their very best! I will miss them immensely.

Sweet Camille

After the graduation part for the program, I presented my pianist, Debbie Fain, with a gift. She is a pastor's wife here in town, and has been an invaluable partner with me for the last several years. I have adored working with her. She is such a shining example of a Christian woman, and has inspired me and touched my heart!

I thought that was the end...But...Bonnie and her helpers had much more in store for me.

First they brought up a beautiful crystal vase and placed it on a stand. Then, Bonnie spoke some beautiful words about the fact that there have been many children that have passed through my classes in my 20 year tenure there. And then, she began calling names...from 2009...back to 1989. A student from each year was there to present me a rose . Here are some pics of them waiting to come in:

As they came down the aisle, and I heard their names, I could still see them as that little boy or girl who sat in a circle on the floor of my room and sang with me. They were as beautiful now as they were then. Here are just a few of them:

Then for the biggest surprise of all...for the last year...actually, the first year I taught...they had asked Ian to be there. He had come to Dothan the day before, but I thought he had left to go home...he actually told me he had gone home. So, I was very surprised when he came down the aisle to bring the last rose to me. He was in kindergarten the first year I taught.

Justin and Joshua, big brothers to Sweet Sophie from China:

Just to look at those faces, and to realize how blessed I have been is overwhelming.

It humbles me to know that FP put this much trust in me...and the parents put that much trust in us to lend us their little ones for a few hours each day. I have tried with all my heart to use every opportunity that I was given to point these little souls to God. I have tried to teach them to appreciate the wonderful gift of music. I have tried to lead them to appreciate all kinds of music, even if it was not their favorite. I hope that they learned from me that music is one way you can worship God. I pray that some of the songs that I taught will remain in their hearts and minds...resting there until the day those words or melody are needed to give them comfort or peace or a way of praising God. That, then, will be my success.
Thank you, Sherrie, for the pictures! They are a treasure!


Darby said...

Justin's mom told me all about this! How precious all these children are!! I love it!!

racheld said...

I do believe this is the best "Thank You" party I've ever seen!!!

Treasures laid up, indeed.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful tribute! That's one of the neatest ideas I've ever seen. Last year, when my oldest started kindergarten, it really hit me what an awesome responsibility and privilege we have as teachers. I am blessed that my child comes to school with me, with people I know, but I thought about those parents who don't know us, but yet trust us with their precious children every day. It really gave me a new perspective, and made me think a lot more about just how much I can impact their lives. I pray every day that my students will see a Christian example in me. I know I fall short a lot of times, but I hope they'll remember the things I did right! Congratulations on your retirement!

nancygrayce said...

I love it! What a sweet way to sum up all those years by having a respresentative from each year! God has worked through you in ways you will see for years to come!

Love Being a Nonny said...

I know you will re-live this night for a long time. How very special! I love the idea of each child having a rose for you to place in the vase. I can tell how much you are loved and I feel blessed to call you friend.

Was your husband there? Were your other boys there? Sure hope so!

Sharon said...

Thats soooooo awesome, The children and all there little smiles. and the last surprise at the end, you had to of been so humbled for sure.

Congratulations on your retirement!!

Kristen said...

This was so sweet...especially to see Ian come down the aisle!

Southern Lady said...

Oh, Tonja ... I know your heart was just overflowing with love and joy at seeing all those precious faces from the past, not to mention being surprised by Ian being there. What a loving and beautiful tribute to a most deserving lady. Those children were very blessed by your presence in their lives.