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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thanks St. Agnes!!

I met the 6th grade class at the beginning of their final year at St. Agnes School and had the pleasure to attend their Graduation at the St. Agnes Church last Friday night. Throughout their year I was able to make it into class at least once a season, and nearly each time I was home, to tell them about my travels, what I had learned and experienced. We had fun each time talking about this and that, skiing, traveling, shooting, visualization, geography, the weirdest food I ate, my favorite places and when I will get married. In exchange for my stories, I would get to hear a little about them, what they were interested in and what class they were headed to next.

Each time I left, I felt I left a bit of my self there with them. And little did they know, I too took a bit of them with me. Here are a few of my favorite moments: In the first visit I had the class do a visualization/relaxation exercise. I started by asking about how they felt individually and collectively how the classroom atmosphere felt. They answered “tired” with a tired voice and a slump in their posture. With their eyes closed, I talked them through a narrative which brought them within themselves, then outside into the snow, sky, and trees, to pull them back again to themselves and their classroom. Afterwards with their eyes open, I asked the same question again about how they felt. They smiled and fulfilled a list with warm, happy, calm and my most favorite was when Laura’s quite poetic voice piped, “bright!” I am not around kids very often, and it was such pure joy to see them change in a matter of minutes and to express themselves so honestly to someone they were just getting to know.
In our last visit I used my race bibs and foreign currency to tell about all of the places I had been that year. On the World Cup circuit we get to keep each race bibs and within the ski world it is customary to give your bibs away to supporters as a gesture of thanks and as a token of their support and that they helped me get to that race. So, I picked out 9 and handed them out. In that visit we traveled from Germany to Sweden to Austria to Italy and South Korea talking about culture, food, ski venues, and language. As soon as one student, who also happened to be a skier, instinctively put the bib on, so did the rest. Later that day at our local bike shop where I was testing out a new road bike, in walks Maeve with her bib still on!!
I am very thankful to have met these great girls. I thought of them often while traveling, training and racing. Reaching elite levels in a sport often mean most of the things you do in your day are for yourself. Writing to them in a blog or a postcard brought some balance, a bit of peace, meaning and joy to my days on the road.
An enthusiastic "Thanks" from Hanna

My mom and I at Graduation - 14 years after my 6th grade graduation from the same school.
I gave each of the girls one of my race bibs from this past season. This is Jessie's bib above from Antholz, Italy. They also got bibs from Norway, Italy, Sweden, South Korea, Austria and Germany.

Ahh...it looks like home. Thanks for the painting Glenice!

Clearly, you are from Keene if you paint your mountains way above the horizon line and nearly off the top of the page - thanks Maeve and see you on Schaeffer Rd.!!

Nina's thank you, above, lay on top of the pile that handed. Their teachers specifically made mention of their artistic talents both individually and together. This one brought tears to my eyes and along with the rest of them, it is the best gift of gratitude I've ever gotten.
Good luck at the Middle School and have a great summer!!
best,
Haley






2 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks Haley for giving us the bibs and for letting us follow you throughout the world!!! :) ;) it was nice meeting you!
-KS

Haley said...

I had a lot of fun too Katie! Have a great summer and check in again when school starts. I will continue to post my whereabouts:) best, haley