Let me begin by saying that I have Matthew’s permission to share the following stories; in fact, I sought permission by communicating through his parents. I wanted their permission as well.
I knew Matthew and his family before he started school. They continue to live not far from my home. He was one of the most cooperative, appreciative and respectful students I have taught. Matthew is also a double amputee. He has prosthetic limbs on both legs below the knee.
While I was principal of MCS, I taught kindergarten music in each class twice a week. It was a way to give the K teachers some much appreciated preparation time. It was also an opportunity for me to get to know our youngest students on the ground-floor. Matthew was a student in the last kindergarten class I taught.
This particular day was a wet one. It had rained earlier, and the playground had several puddles of water. As I was entering the playground I saw five-year-old Matthew off to one side. His low rubber boot had fallen off his left foot, and he was standing on the wet ground.
“Matthew, let me help you get your boot back on.” It was then I realized that his sock was quite wet.
“Oh, Matthew, your sock is wet. That can’t be comfortable. Do you think your teacher might have a spare pair of socks in her room?” He looked up at me and shook his head.
“I don’t suppose your mother packed an extra pair for you?”. Again, he shook his head.
It was then the reality of the situation hit me.
“Hold it Matthew. You can’t feel that, can you?” Again he shook his head.
I pulled his wet sock up around his prosthetic foot and helped him place his foot back in the boot. Off he went.
Eleven years later I had the pleasure of having Matthew in one of my grade 11 chemistry classes at HHS. On this particular day I had my class outside, behind the school, and I had just thrown my calculator 15 meters across grass (ref: Blog post February 17, 2017 – Calculator Features). It was then I realized how wet the grass was. The fact that the lawn hadn’t been cut for a while didn’t help. I didn’t want to walk across it with my soft leather shoes and I noticed that many of the students were wearing sandals.
“Sorry, folks. I didn’t realize how wet the grass was. I don’t suppose I have a volunteer, someone willing to walk through the wet grass and retrieve my calculator? I will warn you though, your feet will get wet.”
After a few moments of silence Mathew stepped forward. “I’ve got this Mr. Caines. Remember, I can’t feel it.”
Well done, Matthew.
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