Commentary: We have some damn good kids in our community

By Doug Borden
Posted 3/24/19

Our high school students excitedly cheered on the elementary kids as they ran through the "High Five Friday" morning gauntlet. The little ones grinned and laughed as our high school students clapped …

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Commentary: We have some damn good kids in our community

Posted

Our high school students excitedly cheered on the elementary kids as they ran through the "High Five Friday" morning gauntlet. The little ones grinned and laughed as our high school students clapped and wished them a “Happy Friday!” Enthusiastic high fives were in full effect and even some of the teachers and parents grinned and moved through the line. All smiles. Chicken soup for the soul!

Suddenly a mother arrived with a little girl. The little one was slight, young and on the spectrum. She appeared nervous as she looked at the high school students cheering and clapping for her. Her mother coaxed her to walk through the line, but the little one didn't want to let go from the safety of her moms hand. Uncertainty and worry on her face and in her eyes.

Almost as if in perfect synchronicity, our high school students all took a knee and smiled at the little one. Some of them gently motioned for her to come forward and get a high five. The little one began to smile and she slowly took a step or two forward, but not yet letting go of her mothers hand.

The high five line worked together and reassured the little one that it was okay. The little girl looked up at her mother and then back at the high schoolers. She slowly released her mothers hand and began cautiously walking forward. Once she reached the line, she was met with reassuring words and gentle high fives. She must have felt the vibe because she picked up her pace and by the time she completed the high five line she was beaming back at her mother and holding her hands together as our high school students cheered for her.

Her mother broke into grateful tears as she thanked our high school students who clapped for her and gave her thumbs up. My eyes welled. I had to look and step away so not to be seen crying.

My heart was bursting with pride for our Townie high school students. A diverse group of teenagers united with care. All compassionate and mindful enough to recognize that this little one needed some support. They showed heart. I loved them for it.

Sometimes our students are the best teachers.

It was a fleeting moment yet powerful enough to remind me that ''Townie Pride!" is real! Be proud East Providence! We have some damn good kids in our community and we all ought to be grateful for it!

Mr. Borden is an East Providence Police Officer and Student Resource Officer (SRO) at East Providence High School

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.