Friday, May 09, 2008

School: Projects and Parties

Ian and his Immigrant Report

Me, Mary, and Nicole
Mary and Jeff (top)
Katherine and Dana's baby, Blake

Emma, Josie, Grace, Mikail, Sophie, and Jade

Now that it's May, school is winding down for everyone.

One of my great joys this year has been tutoring my nephew, Ian. In exchange for Grace's dance lessons, I take Ian in the afternoons and we work on homework. He's been working really hard, and his progress has been significant! (I call my truck the "tutor bus" because after school I have Ian, Emma, and Grace, along with their backpacks, lunch bags, and projects.) Recently, Ian was assigned an "Immigrant Project;" he had to research one of his relatives and the way he or she came to the United States.

Ian and I truly bonded over our research of Adomas Zakarouski, Ian's great, great grandfather (my great grandfather.) At just sixteen, Adomas boarded a tramp steamer in Lithuania and travelled to Ellis Island. Once in America, he moved to Illinois, where he met his wife (Great, Great Grandma) and they started a sewing business. When Adomas died, he left Great Grandma with no money; she moved into a Polish neighborhood and in order to fit in, she changed her name to Zakarski, the Polish form of Zakarouski. Every time she moved to a new neighborhood, she changed her name.

Adomas's son was my grandfather, Stanley Raymond Zakar. "Grandpa Ray" as we called him, grew up and joined the Navy, and his officers told him to shorten his name because Zakarouski was too difficult to pronounce. He shortened it to Zakar, which is my dad's last name and my maiden name.

Ian made the most rockin' immigrant project board known to man! We are both very proud of it. We added maps, pictures, and his report, and the entire board's colors were those of the Lithuanian flag. We felt pretty crafty and clever when we were finished!

The best part of tutoring Ian was recently when my sister said that when he received his progress report (which was very, very good) he couldn't wait to show me. :) He's such a punkin pie I tell ya!

Other school news: Our English department had a party/bbq and all of us ate (a lot) while the kids played. I work with a wonderful group of friends, and I love watching our kids grow up together.

School's almost out and I can't wait for summer break to begin, but I must say that parties and projects have been rather enjoyable this year. :)

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