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Hailey Oswald, Brookhaven Elementary

The following was submitted by Kira Weight.

“Last year, after nearly five years of paperwork and waiting, our family finalized the adoption of our little girl, Lucy. Lucy is adopted from Liberia, West Africa. She came to the US at ten years old, with a limited formal education. Lucy knew about 30 sight words and no phonetics, everything she could read or write was through memorization. She knew how to spell egg, e-g-g, but had no idea what sound the letter E made.

Naturally, I was terrified to through this child into the mix of a traditional classroom with students far beyond her current ability. I even considered homeschooling her; something I have never dreamed I would ever consider, and feel very inadequate of doing. We all wanted the best for Lucy, and SHE wanted to go to school. So, after just a couple short weeks in the United States, Lucy was enrolled in forth grade. When I found out Miss Oswald would be her teacher, I was so relieved. Miss Oswald was amazing with my oldest daughter, and I knew she would be great for Lucy as well.

Miss Oswald exceeded amazing! Before Lucy came to class she explained Lucy’s background and why she might be ‘different’ and not understand some of the things most kids do. She gave Lucy the safe haven she needed. Miss Oswald provided her with a happy, healthy environment for learning. She quickly became one of Lucy’s favorite people.

Miss Oswald would work with my husband and I directly in regards to Lucy’s behavior, understanding of social norms, and homework. She would accommodate Lucy’s homework to be something still similar to what was being taught in class, but more appropriate for Lucy’s level. In addition, to all this, Miss Oswald had Lucy attend computer hour with a lower grade class (Lucy had never used a computer prior to coming to the US.) and while the rest of Miss Oswald’s class was at computers, Miss Oswald would use her only prep time of the week to work one on one with Lucy. Amazing.
Miss Oswald left our school, Grovecrest Elementary, last year to pursue a new opportunity at Brookhaven Elementary school. I literally cry tears when I think of the loss our school will have without her there. I nominated Miss Oswald, because she is the most humble, kind person. She has made such a difference in the lives of both our daughters and I wish for her to know a tiny glimpse of how amazing she has been and how many lives she has touched. If anyone is deserving of recognition, it’s Miss Oswald. Thank you for the consideration!”